Drumbeat: October 28, 2010

China halts oil work in Iran as U.S. ties grow

China’s top energy firms have slowed work on projects in Iran as their ties grow with U.S. energy companies, a blow to Tehran as it struggles under sanctions to attract investment in its strategic oil sector.

OPEC’s second-largest producer, needing billions of dollars just to maintain its oil output capacity, has turned to China to fill the vacuum left by Western firms that have withdrawn under political pressure as the U.S. and its allies look to halt Tehran’s nuclear program.

Shell studies oil trade impact of EU Iran sanctions

LONDONb(Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it would assess any impact of European sanctions on its oil trade with Iran and had stopped some activities there following tougher U.S. measures earlier this year.

The European Union sanctions over Iran's nuclear work, launched in July and which became law this week, seek to block oil and gas investment in the Islamic Republic, the world's fifth largest oil exporter.

Analysis: U.S. O&G Drilling Rises from 2009 Slump

After slumping in 2009, U.S. oil and natural gas drilling is on the upswing in 2010, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported this week. An estimated 11,297 oil wells, natural gas wells and dry holes were completed in the third quarter of 2010, a 45 percent jump from last year's third quarter, according to API's newly released 2010 Quarterly Well Completion Report: Third Quarter.

Tax to fall to 2/3 of Russia oilco sales in '20-oilmin

(Reuters) - Russia wants to cut the tax burden on its oil companies to around 65 percent of revenues from the current 73 percent with a view to encouraging investment, its energy minister told reporters on Thursday.

Saudi Aramco issues rare gas oil spot tender-trade

The state oil giant is usually a buyer of gas oil. But traders said demand had waned as the peak season was over.

“It is the first spot sale since May,” one middle distillates trader said, adding such a sale reflected the bearish fundamentals of the gas oil market.

Yet another fuel shortage looms over Kathmandu

KATHMANDU: Kathmanduites may possibly face yet another fuel shortage due to delay in negotiation by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) with agitating Nepal Petroleum Transporters’ Federation (NPTF).

Islamabad votes in favor of TAPI pipeline

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (UPI) -- Islamabad voted to give the green light to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline, a minister announced.

Pakistani Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said it was vital for Pakistan to approve the multilateral pipeline from Turkmenistan to stave off an energy crisis in the country, Pakistan's Daily Times newspaper reports.

Exxon not shutting N. American gas wells

(Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp has not shut off any North American natural gas production because of current low prices for the fuel, an executive said on Thursday.

"We have not shut in any gas wells," David Rosenthal, an investor relations executive for the oil company told analysts on a conference call.

Transneft may speed up Pacific oil pipeline start

(Reuters) - Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft may commission its Pacific link, by one year earlier than planned, the company head Nikolai Tokarev said on Thursday.

The completion of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean-2 pipeline is scheduled for 2013-2014.

Operational woes hit Canada oil sands producers

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian oil sands producers, including Nexen Inc and Cenovus Energy Inc, struggled with operational problems in the third quarter, which pressured returns, prompting investors to pull their shares lower.

The issues were both internal and external, and highlighted the complexities of developing Alberta's oil sands, the largest crude oil source outside the Middle East.

Resource boom leads to huge wage growth

The boom in the mining, oil and gas industries has led to spectacular wage growth for their workers, Statistics Canada said Thursday in its monthly earnings survey.

Energy superpower -- policy midget

Sometimes governments do things that are so controversial and divisive the issue can never be discussed rationally again. Think of the Mulroney government's efforts at constitutional reform -- the failed Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords -- for example.

This week marks the 30th anniversary of another such policy effort. On Oct. 28, 1980, the Trudeau government introduced the National Energy Program, and in so doing ensured this country would not have a serious conversation about energy strategy for another three decades.

Report: Nigerian oil city evictions to affect 200k

The evictions and demolitions are part of a master plan to redevelop the waterfront of Port Harcourt, long a hub for foreign oil firms exploring Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta. While foreign oil workers live in fortified compounds resembling Western suburbs, Nigerians living in the city have little electricity and access to clean drinking water.

Indian electricity: so far behind China

India may be catching up with China in terms of GDP growth but it still lags far behind on electricity provision. The contrast between the two global heavyweights is stark: nearly 404m Indians currently live without any electricity at all, compared to 8m Chinese.

U.K. Extends Subsidies to Small Refurbished Hydro Power Plants in Rivers

The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change said former mills and water turbines that are converted into hydroelectricity plants are now eligible for financial support under the government’s feed-in-tariff system.

Hydropower projects that produce as much as 5 megawatts can claim feed-in-tariff support and those above 50 kilowatts can claim Renewable Obligation Certificates, the department said today on its website.

Electric car rivalry could distract buyers

Back in the 1960s, counterculture guru Timothy Leary urged people to “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” In the coming months, American motorists will be urged to “plug in, turn on and buy,” as the first mass-production electric vehicles hit the market.

By some estimates, as many as three dozen plug-in hybrids, extended-range electric vehicles and battery-electric cars will reach market by mid-decade, but industry executives say the coming months will be critical to building acceptance for vehicles that have some serious drawbacks compared to conventional, gas-powered cars, trucks and crossovers.

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Midterms

As we approach another round of Congressional elections, it is a good time to review how the peaking of the world's oil supply fits into the American political scene. It has been obvious to anyone who cared to look at the issue that for the last six or seven years something has been seriously wrong with the global supply of oil.

Prices have moved to up from their traditional $10-20 a barrel range to roughly four times higher. Looking behind this number, it does not take long to learn that world oil production has been static for the last five years and that demand for oil in China, India, the oil-exporters, and a few other developing countries is moving up rapidly. Indeed, a few knowledgeable observers are beginning to say that it was the rapid increase in oil prices and the concomitant inflation and higher interest rates between 2002 and 2006 that started the ball rolling towards our current global recession. The great oil price spike to $147 a barrel in the summer of 2008 was the icing on the cake. The great financial/credit bubble that had been growing in the U.S. and Europe for several decades began to deflate.

Crude Oil Trades Near $82 as Investors Buy Commodities on Dollar Weakness

Oil traded near its highest price in a week as the dollar weakened, boosting investor demand for raw materials, and after a report yesterday showed U.S. gasoline stockpiles fell by the most in a year.

Oil in New York Faces Resistance at $81.74 a Barrel: Technical Analysis

Oil in New York is facing resistance at $81.74 a barrel, setting the stage for prices to climb to $87 or fall to $78, based on levels using Fibonacci analysis, the Schork Group Inc. said.

Natural-Gas Prices Swings in U.K. Decline to 11-Year Low

U.K. natural gas is trading in the narrowest range in 11 years as increased imports and storage capacity counters concern that North Sea production is waning.

Special Report: The Great Shale Gas Rush

Exploring the promise and challenge of a new energy supply.

ConocoPhillips Australian LNG Project Closing Gap With Rivals, Mulva Says

ConocoPhillips, Origin Energy Ltd.’s partner in an Australian liquefied natural gas venture, said it aims to make a decision to proceed with the development at about the same time as rival projects in Queensland state.

French protests weaken but still disrupt flights

Though the strikes are tapering off, the fuel shortages they caused are still a problem. One in five gas stations are still empty or short of gas because of the refinery strike, said the national petroleum industry body.

Striking dock workers have exacerbated the shortages. Oil tankers are lined up by the dozens in the Mediterranean off the port of Marseille, waiting to unload. The Normandy port of Le Havre faces a similar situation. Dock workers have been protesting for a month, partly over the pension plan, though their central concern is port reform.

Shell Says Repercussions of U.S. Drilling Moratorium Could Last Into 2012

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, warned that the knock-on effects of the temporary ban on new deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico could last for the next two years.

Shell has booked charges of $115 million to date after idling rigs and expects further losses in the fourth quarter, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said today. Daily output from the region, which accounts for about a third of Shell’s total production in the Americas, will be 40,000 barrels less than previously expected in 2011.

Shell net profits hit £2.19 bln in third quarter

LONDON (AFP) – Royal Dutch Shell said Thursday that net profits rose seven percent to 2.195 billion pounds in the third quarter, compared with the same period one year ago.

The group also revealed in a results statement that net earnings fell 21 percent in the third quarter, when compared with the previous three months.

Sinopec's Third-Quarter Profit Beats Estimates as China Fuel Demand Rises

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s biggest refiner, posted a 15 percent gain in third- quarter profit, beating estimates, as faster industrial production growth boosted fuel consumption by factories.

Net income at Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, rose to 19.6 billion yuan ($2.9 billion), or 0.224 yuan a share, from a revised 17.1 billion yuan, or 0.197 yuan, a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange today. That compares with a mean estimate of 18.16 billion yuan in a Bloomberg survey of seven analysts.

Cnooc's Revenue Surges 64% as Output, Oil Prices Advance in Third Quarter

Cnooc Ltd., China’s biggest offshore oil producer, posted a 64 percent increase in third-quarter revenue as the company stepped up acquisitions and output to gain from higher crude prices.

Sales rose to 38.91 billion yuan ($5.8 billion), from 23.76 billion yuan a year earlier, Cnooc said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange today. The Beijing-based company, which gets almost all of its revenue from oil and gas production, doesn’t report net income for the third quarter.

S-Oil Third-Quarter Profit Triples as Diesel Demand Boosts Refining Margin

S-Oil Corp., South Korea’s third- biggest oil refiner, said third-quarter profit more than tripled, beating estimates, as margins from processing crude into diesel increased with rising fuel demand.

Net income rose to 243.7 billion won ($216 million) in the quarter from a revised 78.9 billion won a year earlier, the Seoul-based company said in a regulatory filing today. The mean of 11 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg News was a profit of 231.9 billion won.

Exxon Mobil Profit Rises as Demand Growth Boosts Energy Prices

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest company, posted its third consecutive profit increase as rising worldwide energy demand lifted commodity prices.

Third-quarter net income rose to $7.35 billion, or $1.44 a share, from $4.73 billion, or 98 cents, a year earlier, Irving, Texas-based Exxon said today in a statement. Per-share profit was 5 cents more than the average of 14 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Eni Posts $2.38 Billion Third-Quarter Profit, Beating Analysts' Estimates

Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil and natural gas company, said third-quarter profit gained 48 percent, beating analysts’ estimates, as crude prices rose.

Adjusted net income increased to 1.70 billion euros ($2.35 billion) from 1.15 billion euros a year earlier, the Rome-based company said today in a statement, surpassing the 1.34 billion- euro average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 16 analysts.

Kuwait Energy Company plans IPO

Kuwait Energy, which is part of two consortiums holding rights to develop Iraqi gasfields, is planning a share sale on one or both of the London and Kuwait stock exchanges within the next nine months.

If the offering goes ahead, the company would become the first Kuwaiti oil and gas producer with shares available to the public for investment.

A Nano-Solution to Energy ‘Vampires’

Like a leaky faucet, today’s transistors may be in the “off” position but are never fully closed, allowing small amounts of energy to steadily escape. But with nanotechnology, a far tighter “seal” may be achieved, greatly increasing efficiency, said the project’s coordinator, Adrian Ionescu of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

“It’s old technology,” Mr. Ionescu said of the current transistors, which are based on designs that date back decades. “What we want to use is nanoscience and nanowires, so when you want to close it, you do close it.”

Ladle of Love Food Truck Needs a Place to Sleep

The truck is one of four on the terrace of the newly opened visitor center from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Unlike the others, the Ladle truck is powered by an electric engine, travels at a maximum of 25 miles an hour, and can travel 40 miles before it needs another charge from its three-pronged plug. (It has an emergency gas generator on board in case it finds itself becalmed.)

But the truck’s slowness and limited cruising range have been its undoing in the overnight department. Customarily Manhattan’s food trucks are garaged in Brooklyn, where space is more abundant and parking tariffs are more affordable.

Top scientists answer your 'toughest' energy questions

Post your questions on peak oil, wind power, nuclear power and more for our panel of six of the world's leading energy scientists.

Increasingly desperate stakes to make news heard

When we watch, listen or read the news, we do so at a slight remove. If you really took onboard the full emotional impact of, for example, a fatal school bus crash, reading the news each day would be too difficult to endure. Even 15 minutes of watching violent news is enough to stress people out, according to a 2007 study in Behavioural Medicine. So we learn to build a wall between our intellectual absorption of the news and our emotional rendering of it.

Surging price of oil forces US military to seek alternative energy sources

Earlier this year a Joint Operating Environment report from the US joint forces command predicted that global surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be a shortfall of nearly 10m barrels a day by 2015.

"Peak oil", said the generals, would impact massively on the US and other economies, and the US military would be compromised. Meanwhile Wesley Clark, former supreme allied commander in Europe, has argued strongly that America's addiction to foreign oil is unsustainable and, by extension, the military's $20bn a year spend on oil and other energy must be reconsidered.

US navy completes successful test on boat powered by algae

It looked like a pretty ordinary day on the water at the US naval base in Norfolk, Virginia: a few short bursts of speed, a nice tail wind, some test manoeuvres against an enemy boat.

But the 49ft gunboat had algae-based fuel in the tank in a test hailed by the navy yesterday as a milestone in its creation of a new, energy-saving strike force.

Jeremy Leggett: Solar storm coming: the battle for the UK energy industry

"It is a great big battle of ideas, and we haven't won it yet," says Jeremy Leggett. The green guru and founder of Solarcentury – the solar-photovoltaic (PV) supplier that is Britain's fastest-growing energy company – is in the vanguard of the battle. And while the clean-energy industry is breathing a sigh of relief that last week's Government Spending Review did not axe the feed-in tariff (FIT) widely hailed as a cornerstone of Britain's renewable-energy revolution, Mr Leggett has no time for complacency.

Global food crisis forecast as prices reach record highs

Rising food prices and shortages could cause instability in many countries as the cost of staple foods and vegetables reached their highest levels in two years, with scientists predicting further widespread droughts and floods.

Study finds trees not so large carbon sinks

The capacity of trees to counter rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may not be as great as previously thought, according to a new study with significant implications for predicting future climate change.

Companies want EPA to keep some global warming information secret in first-ever inventory

WASHINGTON - Some of America's largest emitters of heat-trapping gases, including businesses that publicly support efforts to curb global warming, don't want the public knowing exactly how much they pollute.

Oil producers and refiners, along with manufacturers of steel, aluminum and even home appliances, are fighting a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency that would make the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that companies release — and the underlying data businesses use to calculate the amounts — available online.

Variable southeast summer rainfall linked to climate change

DURHAM, N.C. – A doubling of abnormally wet or dry summer weather in the southeastern United States in recent decades has come from an intensification of the summertime North Atlantic Subtropical High (NASH), or "Bermuda High."

And that intensification appears to be coming from global warming, according to a new analysis by a Duke University-led team of climate scientists.

Global warming 'unquestionably' due to humans: France

PARIS (AFP) - Global warming exists and is unquestionably due to human activity, France's Academy of Science said in a report published Thursday and written by 120 scientists from France and abroad.

Queensland getting hotter: report

Queensland is getting hotter, sea levels will continue to rise and the impact of extreme weather will increase, according to a new state government report on climate change.

Minister for Climate Change Kate Jones tabled the report - called Climate Change in Queensland: What the science is telling us - in state parliament on Thursday.

Oil & Gas Journal now understand ELM. Subsidies seen endangering OPEC prosperity

Member countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are thriving on oil export revenue but, in many cases, eroding their export capacities by subsidizing domestic consumption, warns the Centre for Global Energy Studies, London...

Rapid growth in domestic consumption has lowered export rates in many OPEC countries. While global oil demand growth averaged 1.2%/year, demand in most OPEC countries increased by more than 3%/year during 1998-2010, CGES says.

Ron P.

Exploding population in exporting countries also isn't helping. Wait until all those babies grow up and want to drive a Benz.

And then there's BMW and it's dependence on the oil trade.

Across its 14 importers in the region, 7,953 BMW and Mini vehicles were sold with Dubai achieving the highest overall sales volumes.

While Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were the next best selling markets, BMW's highest growth rates were recorded in Lebanon and Abu Dhabi, which grew 68 per cent and 56 per cent respectively.


Lebanon exports a lot of hash oil. I wonder what peak oil and the impending collapse of civilization means for this important export. BMW is probably worried. Are you?

Exploding population in exporting countries also isn't helping.

Not anymore exploding in most ME exporters.
Only Iraq (4,5) and KSA (3,5) had between 2000 and 2010 fertility rates well above 3.

I saw in Pakistan that women in the countryside affected by the flooding are having 7-10 babies -- continuously pregnant. Once a girl can become pregnant she is essentially. it was on PBS.

I was horrified to imagine the economic stress that will come of that place and any place with such drastic population explosion at times like these.

It will be the most major series Worldwide disasters that will be of epic proportions.

No one knows what is coming.

I was horrified to imagine the economic stress that will come of that place and any place with such drastic population explosion at times like these.

Yes but I highly doubt that many of those babies will actually survive to adulthood. On the other hand maybe Pakistani government will be placing a Pata Yano, ( since they won't buy Tata Nanos) in every garage and a large lizard in every pot...

Every Sunday ? Genius wit !

This is the most pessimistic Tom Whipple article I've read. Usually he writes that technology will ameliorate the worst aspects of Peak Oil.

Yeah, good article though. I really like the "Whip-man":-)

Tom has apparently decided to tell it like it is.

The calculation has been that telling it like it is - complete with the prospect of little or no economic growth for a long time and the growing impoverishment of most of the population -- would be at best political suicide and at worst would crash the stock markets leading to instant misery and impoverishment for millions.

I don't think politicians are keeping a secret. They really believe our economic problems are all the fault of other politicians who do not see things their way. And two or who do understand the problem, Bartlett and Udall, are shouting it from the rooftops and getting no one to listen.

There may be others who do understand, people who have the ear of MSM, who could if they would cause considerable upheaval if they were to let their opinions known. Perhaps, perhaps not. At any rate the midterm elections are all about who is to blame for the recession and unemployment. The politicians really do not have a clue, just like the vast majority of their constituents.

Ron P.

Ron, don't you think a 30 year veteran of the CIA (although now "retired") might know a bit more of what he's talking about than he can let on? If the politicians at the very top don't have a pretty clear understanding (which does not mean they know what to do of course) of what's happening then I'd be astonished. This is an incredibly serious national security issue worldwide and the people who's job it is to know that really, really get it by now I'm sure.

Unfortunately it seems, as Whipple says, they have decided to drive us all over the cliff at high speed rather than rock the boat early. Or perhaps Ron, some with influence have done the calculations and come up with even more pessimistic projections than your own and decided might as well go "all in". Whatever that means...

Undertow, I have no idea what CIA veteran you are talking about here but CIA members are not politicians. The head of the CIA is of course appointed by the president but he has not been there 30 years. At any rate with the USGS saying the earth's crust if almost floating on oil and the EIA and the IEA saying there is nothing to worry about then I doubt that even the CIA has a clue. After all, they are into espionage not geology.

Remember Undertow, politicians take the word of their government agencies who are supposed to be the experts in the field. If the USGS and the EIA say there is nothing to worry about why should they worry, or scare the public with opinions that disagree with opinions of the professionals in the employ of the government.

Bottom line, no the politicians haven't a clue as to what is going on. Don't blame them they are just as ignorant as their constituents.

Ron P.

The CIA veteran is Tom Whipple who wrote that article.

Are you not arrogant in assuming as a fact that you have worked it out better than those you think are merely ignorant in all the bodies worldwide who's functions involve analysing energy resources and security? At least entertain the possibility that you might have it wrong.

After all Hirsch, Whipple, Simmons ,two former UK government ministers, and many many others have all said that the people at the top understand but have taken political decisions to say nothing. But no - you choose to ignore them and assume you have worked it all out and they are all dumb.

doubt that even the CIA has a clue. After all, they are into espionage not geology.

Can I suggest you write to the CIA with that quote, your Peak Oil insights and a link to this thread. Maybe then they could delve into OPEC Reserves and Production forecasts using good old "espionage" ;-)

Out of curiosity what would you do if you were made President of the USA right now?

Are you not arrogant in assuming as a fact that you have worked it out better than those you think are merely ignorant in all the bodies worldwide who's functions involve analysing energy resources and security? At least entertain the possibility that you might have it wrong.

Are you just joking or are you really trying to be insulting? There are people who have done vast research on the subject who do not buy the peak oil argument. There is Dan Yergin and all the rest of that CERA bunch. There is Michael C. Lynch and many more who have studied the subject for years, who's job it is to study the issue who have come to the conclusion that we are nowhere near peak oil.

Yes Hirch, Whipple, Simmons and even the Germain Military has warned us of peak oil. But CERA, the USGS and the EIA have said it was all nonsense. Politicians are no different from their constituents. When confronted with different "expert" opinions, they will believe the one that reflects their already preconceived opinions, those opinions being the ones they desire to believe.

Politicians, in general, are experts in nothing except how to get elected and raise political contributions. I find it really astonishing that you, are anyone else, would believe that politicians, in general, are aware of the coming catastrophe but keeping it quiet.

Really Undertow, you must think politicians are some kind of geniuses. That is you must think they have the ability to distinguish which set of experts are correct and which group have it all wrong when there is an overwhelming desire to believe the ones that paint the most desirable picture. The picture painted by the peak oil group is not pretty. Who the hell would want to believe them when other "experts" tell them everything will eventually be okay.

Ron P.

And I simply believe that some but not all of the people and agencies you discount are only following orders. I know you can't and won't wrap your head around that and think it is all conspirational nonsense. So there we will disagree.

But yes of course politicians don't want to say "I have a nightmare" and they'll cling to miracles for as long as possible but that doesn't mean they have done nothing behind the scenes. This is a "Clear and Present Danger".

So who should I believe? The very connected Tom Whipple who says "...both the Bush and the Obama administrations have concluded that it is best to muddle along and not say anything to disturb the national polity....The calculation has been that telling it like it is - complete with the prospect of little or no economic growth for a long time and the growing impoverishment of most of the population -- would be at best political suicide and at worst would crash the stock markets leading to instant misery and impoverishment for millions."

Or you Ron?

It's an interesting question, to-wit, what percentage of public officials worldwide believe (irrespective of what they say in public) that we are near, or past, an oil production peak, versus the percentage of public officials who fall somewhere along the Yergin to Lynch spectrum (a production plateau in a few decades to a production plateau in the next century)?

In any case, I increasingly believe that most public officials, even those who accept the reality of a near term peak, feel that they can't say anything in public because government revenues are already in a wold of hurt, and they desperately need the tax revenue generated from continued high levels of consumption. This doesn't even take into account the obvious electability problems.

Politicians, in general, even if they are aware of peak oil, believe we will find "something else" that will allow us to continue business as usual. They are just as deceived by the dream as everyone else. Why, in God's name, would anyone expect them to be any different.

Ron P.

If you assume there is no "solution" to peak oil then I think an argument can be made that many key leaders do understand what is going on and are doing what they believe is optimal to mitigate the problem. Namely:

1) Secure remaining supplies of oil (hence Iraq & Afghanistan).
2) Prepare to fight if necessary for a larger share of declining resources (hence defense spending far in excess of what can legitimately be afforded).
3) Extend and pretend in the hope that everyone else goes down first thus leaving a greater share of the remaining resources for yourself (hence QEI, QEII, etc.)

"1) Secure remaining supplies of oil (hence Iraq & Afghanistan)."

But they didn't do that; it is the Chinese who are getting the oil and other mineral resources there.

China doesnt have squat yet. They'd like to though. LOL

I believe that most, if not all, of the people mentioned above (Yergin included) are fully aware of Peak Oil, its timelines and its implications..... the fact that it's not politically or economically expedient for them to admit to it is an entirely different thing.

It's not like it would be the first time politicians and/or businessmen have lied or with-held the truth to meet their own agendae (re-election, making profit, etc).

Business As Usual IS their business, they want the happy motoring continuum to go on as long as possible, since it also drives their personal gravy trains.... who knows what preparations they are making on the side? (Think GW and the "ranch in Paraguay", or the solar installations at his place in Crawford, Texas).

To imagine that it takes a genius to uinderstand Peak Oil is very flattering to me personally, but clearly, in my opinion, simply wrong.

Politicians are concerned with re-election. They don't get elected by telling folks bad news for which they can't offer any solutions.

If the Pentagon can figure out our energy conundrum, I'm sure the CIA can. Neither is beholden to an emotional electorate or campaign finances. Politicians who scare the voters or piss off their contributors won't be politicians for long. Truth be damned.

Plausible deniability.

One of Tom Whipple's essays was about his dealings with Capitol Hill, and why politicians don't care about peak oil. He didn't depict it as a conspiracy, or plausible deniability. Rather, just that they are very busy people who have people screaming about dire emergencies at them all the time.

He said when he tries to tell congressional staffers about peak oil, they ask him, very seriously, when it will happen, ready to pencil it onto the calendar. When he can't give them a solid date, soon, they dismiss it. Not because they don't believe it, but because there are so many more urgent things to deal with, right now, that do have solid dates and deadlines attached.

Exactly! It is not as if they know something and are keeping it a big secret, a giant conspiracy, it is just that the business don't allow time for it.

But I must also make the claim that they don't believe it is that big a deal. Even those who are aware of peak oil, like perhaps Secretary Chu, they don't think it is that big a deal. They do not believe in catastrophes, none of them do. We will find a way to overcome the decline in oil production. Technology, God or Providence will keep us from any major disaster.

Nothing really catastrophic can happen to the US of A. Or so they believe. Hell almost everyone believes that, even a good percentage of peak oilers on this list.

Ron P.

So, it's the system that's broken.......Imagine that!

I suppose that the members of Congress who serve on the various Defense and Military appropriations commitees, and supposedly read the JOEs, etc., just skip over all of that stuff about energy and the petroleum shortfalls that the Military analysts believe will begin to occur around 2012. After all, it's just the Pentagon saying this stuff. You know, that fringe/doomer group in that funny looking building that got hit by the big plane? "Pay no attention to those guys. They're just a bunch of grunts in overstarched uniforms. You're late for your luncheon with The Daughters of the Confederacy, Senator. Your car is out front, all gassed up and ready to go."

Then again, it's not as if a politician would hide behind his staff and busy schedule to avoid acknowledging an inconvenient truth, as in "This is way too hot, guys. I'm not going to touch it, so it's your job to make sure that I don't".

Nobody really operates that way in Washington ....... do they?

Politicians, being mostly lawyers, have been trained to think logically. Therefore, there is either a problem or there isn't.

You need a different thought process to deal with the analysis if noisy data, the quantification of risk, and the modeling of a variety of possible outcomes in order to arrive at a sensible course of action.

I think this is at the core of WebHubleTelescope's argument. He's trying to come up with a statistical proof which will allow some mathematical certainty to be added to the Peak Oil debate, especially the debate over the time frame issue.

This is commendable and I'm all for the effort. But there are other issues that affect the situation in addition to the ones already mentioned, such as the effect of all the money in politics which originates from powerful players like the oil and gas industry, the coal industry, etc. This money "corrupts" the discussion in addition to the uncertainties involved and the predictable human failings in the cognitive abilities of the politicians and other policy makers involved.

Leanan may end up being correct when she says that we may end up in ruins fifty years from now still not willing or able to recognize the role that decreasing energy supplies have played in bringing us down onto our collective knees. Because Peak Oil generates its own "noise" in the form of all the collateral damage it does to the economy, we may never be able to see the forest for the trees. Peak Oil may always be a "belief", like a conspiracy theory about the JFK assassination.

That's my take on the situation. I can't say that I can nail the date either but at least I can give some kind of foundation to stand behind. I have to back up assertions with a scientific or mathematical basis all the time at my day job; I don't see why it would be any different for oil depletion policy. That contradiction has always bothered me -- how it suddenly changes into a "belief" system when it comes to peak oil.

Politicians, being mostly lawyers, have been trained to think logically.

They've been trained to think forensically, but not trained to think scientifically.

Politicians, being mostly lawyers, have been trained to think logically.

They've been trained to think forensically, but not trained to think scientifically.

They've been trained to lie.....You need an engineer or scientist if you want the truth.


To a lawyer or politician, or accountant or marketeer - truth is mutable and dependent on how you frame things, what you leave out.

To a scientist or engineer, truth is an aim, an obsession, a god - a single exception is enough to require a modification and a new, better, truth.

The "science" in Peak Oil, such as it is, is cross-disciplinary so murky even to accomplished physical scientists. But they clearly see that it is shallow. I present Peak Oil as a "liquids crisis" regularly to this group. I highlight the timing uncertainties in projecting from very incomplete information. I outline the Web/Foucher work, and they all understand Laplace transforms and convolutions. I argue that global climate change projections are founded on reserves not flows.

The general assessment of these groups is that the oil user base will at worst contract, that efficiency improvements will ameliorate the problem, and that electrification will progress as needed using nuclear power. Most are financially naive, and believe that the economy is recovering because their research grants are swelling and few people that they socialize with are suffering.

They are focused on building their reputations and replicating themselves through graduate students. Oh yes, they'll teach a freshman course on "the climate crisis" or "the energy crisis", the former usually without much critical thinking, the latter as a series to techno-fetishes. But suggest that the whole institution should examine this singularly important topic critically as a service to our citizenry and watch them run for the exits ...

Just to clarify I am not claiming that the majority of politicians have anything like a full understanding but I do believe that those who are perceived to "need to know" most likely know far more than we give them credit for.

Actually in the UK now it is surprising how many politcians at even at the local town/city council level get it. Transition town organisations and the like are springing up all over. Not ultimately doing very much yet but there's an awareness of what they think is coming and an expectation that they need to accelerate.

Perhaps the reality of our own rapidly declining oil/gas production concentrates minds.

I'm on board with Ron - everyone commit what Leanan passed on to memory, please. Pols in DC rarely go much further than what the DEO/EIA tells them, for the obvious reason that they're overwhelmed with demands on a thousand fronts. This I'd say is bound to be true of national governments around the globe. On a smaller scale you might get muni or state/province/etc governments taking an interest in preparing for energy crises, but I'd say they're the exception. This is hardly a surprise.

Also take note of what transpired in 2008 - anything but constructive responses, or any sign of owing up to failure to think long term for the benefit of the politician's constituency. Instead the DC response came in two flavors, count 'em two: Drill Baby Drill! and Hang Those Speculators! Nothing about an overnight increase in fuel economy, or building out MT, or expanding freight rail, or promoting carpooling or cyling. OK, perhaps the odd Bartlett might have spoken truth to power, but the rest was pure stinky BS.

Chu's recipe du jour was cellulosic ethanol - hey, Mr Nobel Prize, how's that working out for you?

I'm on board with Ron - everyone commit what Leanan passed on to memory, please.

Well obviously you're paid to say that ;-) ;-) ;-)

Oh come on I couldn't accuse Ron of being a disinformation agent even in jest because that would just make his day so I'll have to settle on you instead!

Now if you'll excuse me there's one of these Predator thingies overhead and a red spot on the wall behind me.

Joking aside we all only have opinions. And if anybody has been briefed I doubt they are going to sign up for TOD and tell us. Maybe read it in a history book one day or find out the entirety of TPTB actually really were even more clueless than I could think possible.

From my post above:

"Then again, it's not as if a politician would hide behind his/her staff and busy schedule to avoid acknowledging an inconvenient truth, as in "This is way too hot, guys. I'm not going to touch it, so it's your job to make sure that I don't".

Admittedly sarcastic. I dated a lady some years ago for 3 years. Masters in business communications. This was her job. Period. She worked for both a US Senator and a US Rep. This is why they have staff and they discuss with their staff which critical issues they choose to address. Busy? Sure. Priorities? Many! Unaware? Lame-assed excuse. Unless these people are totally inept (and sure, some are), it's more a matter of choosing their battles carefully. Peak oil is a battle no one can win.

Fuel shortages are not new, and a permanent fuel shortage is BIG news.
We're not talking about an endangered spotted mouse on some utility's construction sight.

Well obviously you're paid to say that ;-) ;-) ;-)

Cover's blown! "Red Charlie Bravo, dogs are in the coking furnace. I repeat, dogs in the coking furnace." Yes, living large off bribes from the TOD staff. Pretty sweet.

OK, it's not exactly an insight that politicians are overworked and narrowly focused; thought I'd emphasize the obvious though, lest there be doubt.

I try and study the political responses of the past to these situations. Lots of panicked slack jawed pols during past energy crises, lots of retrospectively dunderheaded policies enacted. This forms the basis for my projections, which are more of the same, only worse, with a smidge of the sensible in there of course - 55 MPH is a past example. Trying to think of another one...all that comes to mind is gasohol and syncrude. The Carter Doctrine. Gawd.

Ghung, never rely on spell-checker (Construction sight or construction site?).

Jeez. Spelling never was my strongest point, though I rarely use spell checkers. I usually dial phone numbers manually as well (so I can remember them). I was staining some white pine yesterday. Nice VOCs!

I have to remeber that site is derived from situate (actually french: situe`) or situation. I find these things get harder with age, perhaps as a result of my misspent youth ;-)

I think the other part Leanan is the 'so what' question.

If they take onboard peak oil, the next question is 'so what do we do about it?'

The answer to this tends to fail in a number of ways:

  • the general message of cutting back and making do with less is not one that a politician is going to push unless forced. It loses them their job.
  • many of the mitigation approaches are similar to those associated with CO2, and at least outside the US, that's already a much better stand for a politician to hang their hat on.
  • too many ideas come with the tinge of 'green hippies', and so are fringe.
  • saying that growth is over and that economies need to reform around sustainable economic models is heresy - you simply cannot say that and expect business and finance communities to go with you. Its not even a card you can think about playing.
  • you need to invest xxxbn now is also not something that can be countenanced in a time of economic strife.

As such most politicians won't give peak oil time of day because the policy decisions don't meet their prime concern - looking good, strong and dynamic to the people who are going to vote on their future, or alternatively, making them money.

There are a few approaches that might work:

  • providing a sense of urgency to movements and changes. CO2 is too far away really, but a realistic appreciation of the timescale of peak oil gives reason for swift action.
  • setting targets for reductions in oil usage (particularly in the states) as a route to 'energy independence' is viable. I've suggested 1Mbpd of reduction per year, every year. It's a nice strategic aim and allows for the right scale of action. Oil independence is also a better approach than CO2 in the US (thanks to right wing lies).
  • individual resilience and independence is also a good approach in the US. Reducing the dependence of individuals on the state plays straight into the desires of the US far right, and therefore can drive many improvements.
  • auditing oil reserve figures plays into national security. Since oil is so vital, knowing the true figures are equally vital. We know certain figures are bull, so it would be possible to agitate for a commission to get the right figures.

Never expect peak oil to be termed anything other than a 'threat' though - it must always be something we can met, rather than something that will overwhelm us.

Politicians are concerned with re-election. They don't get elected by telling folks bad news for which they can't offer any solutions.

I suspect that high level administration people have been briefed, probably including some members of congress. But as stated above we also have highly credentialed agencies saying "no problem". I suspect mid level politicians generally don't accept PO. In any case like climate-change for Republicans, they have to appear to have totally bought into the "Its only a conspiracy" theory in order to survive.

like climate-change for Republicans, they have to appear to have totally bought into the "Its only a conspiracy" theory in order to survive.

You don't have to oppose the preferred "solutions" to climate change on anything more than the effort is only 30% effective.


If they can't bother to make the spending actually effective - why should any sane and rational person support them?

What has the USA Government been doing to prepare for Peak Oil? Rather than running around crying, "oh my god, we're all going to die," or ,"peak oil means we're f_cked," I suspect that many have been working on the problem. For example, the USA federal government has been doing the following that will help ameliorate the negative aspects of peak oil:

  • encourage automakers to produce hybrid and electric cars.
  • encourage use of hybrid and electric cars (subsidization).
  • require home appliance meet minimum efficiency standards
  • encourage construction of nuclear power electric plants
  • continue research into sustained fusion power systems
  • encourage improvement of housing heating efficiency
  • encourage solar electric systems (subsidization)
  • ensure security of Middle East supplies by the increase of our
    military presence.
  • increase oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico
  • encourage deployment of solar heating (subsidization)
  • mandated improved efficiency of transportation fleet by
    increasing MPG requirements (CAFE).
  • required efficiency improvements in lighting.
  • required all federal operations to improve energy efficiency
  • military is actively engaged in reducing energy requirements and
    researching alternative energy sources
  • required fuel to use a % of non fossil based materials (ethanol).
  • encourage deployment of wind power (subsidization)
  • advocate a policy of energy independence (sop)
  • preparing the populace for a mindset of "no growth for a quite a
  • encourage efficiency improvements in the electricity market
    (smart meters)

A great number of arguments can be made for or against any of the above actions. Nonetheless, they represent progress. The United States economy is a very large ship and it takes an exceedingly long time to change course. Rather than ranting about the arrival of doom on an uncertain schedule, which understandably turns people off, careful framing of the problem and advocating incremental changes that can be seen to have near-term benefit does allow progress.
We do not have a command and control system. We have a very messy set of techniques and a representational republic that does allow for change -- perhaps even for change that is in the best long term interests but that causes short term pain. The calculus of politics necessitates that a lot of preparatory work is required for changes to occur. It also requires that one stay in office and not alienate the social network required to get things done. Publicly shouting, "doom is coming," is a quick way out of office for almost any politician!

Nice list, lurker. I very much agree that the government has quietly taken many significant steps in addressing peak oil issues. They'll never mention the phrase 'peak oil' but they know about the problem and they've instituted many programs (which you listed above) that all directly help mitigate the effects of peak oil. These programs are certainly not enough for the doomsters but they are far more than any previous administration has ever done (except maybe Jimmy Carter).

And Jimmy Carter is the image they are desperately trying to avoid. The 'malaise speech' is legendary in American politics as part of the downfall of Jimmy Carter. But despite that, I'm quite happy that they are going to take the symbolic step of bringing Solar panels back the whitehouse. Steven Chu is a quiet geeky superstar in the Obama administration.

I'll give credit to George Bush who actually had hot water solar panels installed on a shed for heating the pool. But other than that . . . ugh. Disaster. The detrimental detour down the hydrogen dead-end. Support for Enron and that disaster. Iraq.

Additions to your list:
* Grants/Loans to EV battery makers
* Grants/Loans to EV component makers
* Establishment of regulations to improve efficiency of commercial trucks
* Grants/Loans to Smart Grid companies and smart grid improvements.

That's an expensive list, a lot of subsidies, grants and loans, although I agree with the urgent need for almost all of these things. I would add to the list:

Large scale electrical storage development.

Too many priorities, competing for limited dollars (debt), spread thin like our politicians' time. The technocopian's mantra:

[assumes lotus position, rocks gently]

"If we only had the money......."

Large scale electrical storage development

I think they did address this by grants/loans to Li-Ion makers A123, Enderdel, and others. Electricity storage remains a vexing problem. A miracle breakthrough in the area would be a real blessing since it would really really help solar PV, wind energy, and electric vehicles. (And laptops & cellphones! :-) )

Don't forget Stimulus funding for ZBB to expand production of zinc-bromine flow batteries, which triggered this response among others. Changing the future is hard.

That's an expensive list, a lot of subsidies, grants and loans, although I agree with the urgent need for almost all of these things.

Its actually a pretty impressive list, but the reality is we are going going at it at quarter speed. The problem is you gotta get the public to buy into the urgency, and that probably requires scaring the excrement out of them. But, for all the reasons stated in many above comments, that's just not in the cards. So we dawdle along, making a few cosmetic changes, but the cliff is still approaching, and we will still only be in the early phases of the transition when we reach it.

"If we only had the money......."

If we had the sense of urgency, we would simply do whatever it takes. Print money if thats what it takes. The spent money would many be for hiring people who are currently un or underemployed. But we gotta feel it is more urgent, than say reducing the deficit or cutting taxes. But, only a drastic sense of urgency can accomplish that.

Ghung, it isn't a lack of money that is hindering that list. There is plenty of money if politicians get their act together and put a hefty tax on oil. Then use a big chunk of the funds raised to lower income taxes (raise the tax free threshold for Democrat voter approval and cut the top marginal rates for Republican support). Present it as cutting funding for the muzzies (lower oil imports) to get the rednecks on board and as saving mother earth for greenies support. The remaining change (still big bucks) can do much (such as finance retooling car plants to make small efficient or electric cars or to build wind turbines = local investment+ local jobs).

I'll let you hash it out with WallStreet farther down:


....since he seems to be 100% opposed to most of the things you propose. The problem isn't so much the money, but that those that have it plan to keep it, and accumulate more of it. He seems to have a different definition of wealth vs govt. intervention in things.

What's missing however - 179 deduction for PV/wind/solar hot water.

Government workers are the same as everyone else. To shake off the modern consumer lifestyle and retreat to a sustainable farm----it is a type of impossible, crazy idea. Because everywhere the hand of industry reigns and rules. Plastic, fossil fuels, paper by the ton----it is used everywhere and if you go live on a farm it will be no different. The govt there will take its share and you will be in serious economic competition with farmers who use fossil fuel intensive measures.

There is no escape. There is no way out. Any govt which calls on its citizens to buy less just risks the wrath of other govts and businesses.

The changes always occur on the margin. I believe that when fossil fuels came to be used, that was aso the case---those people who benefited most from them embraced them first and the others, who were OK without them, were sometimes opoosed to ff but the marginal cases, more desperate, held sway.

We will see the changes occur at the margin. That means the people at the edge of starvation. They will go live with others to be servants, maybe help on others` farms, live in their cars. Their oil then goes to the better off and better educated and better positioned. The govt workers are not on the margins, that is why they work for the government.

A government worker I know once said "It is impossible to prepare for peak oil". I think he meant that whatever you could do (leaving job, city) would be likely to bring as much trouble as not doing it and dealing with the consequences later. I am not entirely sure but I see his point. You can make the transition now or later, sometimes, if you have a secure government job, maybe later is better.

I know of people that work for the Department of Energy and they own very sophisticated ranches with large solar arrays, water pumps and water storage, large gardens, and so on.

I think folks in the dept. of energy were briefed at some point about REALITY.

politicians are idiots in the main.

look at the last 30 years as we knew in 1970 that the oil crisis was coming.

Absolutely no preparation.

Clueless people. politicians are suits with electrodes in their heads connected to money, interests and power. that is all they all are.

If you really want to work on the problem, I think you need to work up a more useful understanding of politicians.

Some are surely stuffed shirts (and we can often see what they're stuffed with..), some are fairly normal, and actually want to be part of creating good policy.. while many others are clearly intensely bright people, but their intelligence is focused on different priorities than you and I would want.

But these frustrated rants, like you post above.. well, I'm hoping you see those for what they really are, too. You're strapping on your own blinders..

Politicians are actually real people.. if you regard them and their world as thoroughly Angelic, Demonic, or Moronic, whatever.. then you'll have no way to access what's really going on there, and even start looking for pathways and options..

My Senators and congressperson have my letters. They are dismissed with a canned response.

Which party will save us?

The democrats who only care about older unionized workers and their pensions and healthcare benes


The republicans that only care about the very very very very very very rich.

I am young and not rich so neither party cares about me.

Funny thing that I contribute to democrats and I campaign for them. I have 20 emails from them wanting more and more money and my time. But their deafness to energy in the last 2 decades shows they are lying and/or just plain ignorant about reality.

So what is a 30-something to do?

My view is to change my own life. No one else cares or listens. I guess we then sit and wait for hell on earth. Like when the unsustainable housing bubble exploded. LOL. No one ever listens.

'Noone Listens..'

I hear you.

Look, you're not wrong, but it's like that Electric Truck article in NY. The vehicle works, but they can't find a place to park (and also charge) it every night. It's a problem to solve, but it doesn't mean "Electric Vehicles Don't Work", as some would use that article to mean.

Pols are VERY MUCH not listening to all sorts of very urgent concerns that we have, and so yes, one of the primary things we must do is make sure we can take care of many of our own needs. But, we also need a functioning government.. so one of our great challenges is how to turn that misdirected system in a better direction.

Look at the folks who are embattled by the 'Corporate Tea Party' candidates.. it's all they can do just to raise enough money to counter the completely ridiculous ads that are being foisted on the public. To some degree, they HAVE TO respond to these, but somehow not also have it turn them into conspirators in the same game.

I don't blame you for being disgusted and dismissive about it.. but it is a broken system that does have to be made into a working one. If we can't? well,

To follow the Blade Runner quotes from yesterday..
"Roy: Ah-- There's only two of us now. Pris: Then we're stupid and we'll die. (Roy: No we won't.)"

We'll see..


I am just a kid in this game. I cannot believe the results of democracy. We all march on and I will teach my boys the truth as best I can.

My bitterness is perhaps over the top.

This article from Chris Hedges should cheer you up then

Palin and Beck. 2012.
When will people rise up against the corporations themselves.
I guess that is socialism. They have that covered. LOL
I try not to buy things from the major outlets anymore.
The smaller the vendor, the better.

Don't get so discouraged. The politicians have a tough job . . . they have to try please everyone. They are all about compromise and small steps. The best you can hope for is small steps in the direction you want them to go.

Evolution is the most amazing thing ever discovered. It built YOU. An evolution works in teeny tiny little steps. You are young and want big change. I understand that. But that is not the way the world works.

So keep up the fight and don't be discourage just because things only change slowly.

I am neither a Dem or Republican (but do like a lot of the ideas of the tea party).

The Dems do not only care about the Unions (although they are very often beholden to them). They are idealists who very often do not understand that government while well intentioned very often does more harm than good. Life is too complicated to regulate and government is often too inefficient (and has its own incentives) to create what it attempts to create (Ie Johnsons war on poverty and housing for the poor created great poverty).

Republicans do not only care about the rich (although a minority do). Many believe in a free market that can sometimes be very hard/cruel for individuals but which also creates more wealth on average than other system.

Neither is perfect and the truth is somewhere in between (but right now we have such a leftward leaning govt. that the middle lies further from them (which is why political change is going to happen).

Most importantly your view to change your own life is what is key. In America there are studies that show great mobility within classes within one generation. In other words, you can go from rich to poor or poor to rich in your lifetime. IT IS UP to you.

"The rich are not very different than you or me, they just have more money"(A not necessarily correctly attributed quote from Earnest Hemingway to F. Scott Fitgerald after Fitzgerald said the rich are different from you and me). They are just people and not different in general. However, the real question is why they are rich. The answer in the Very vast majority of cases is that they created value so someone paid them for it (or their parents did and someone paid them for that)(Tony Robbins). Bill Gates created value and got very rich and you are generally paid for the value you create. That is why people pay, for value received. Good luck creating/providing value.

(PS. Regarding other related comments on the site...Redistribution is Very often a code word for socialism. Someone cited the Scandanavian countries for their wonderful socialist societies. Well, la dee da, in the whole history of the planet there is one example of where it is CURRENTLY working. Lets not mention, Russia where people starved and waited on lines, China that has established a capitalist system for the past 20 years and gave up on communism and which is eating us up economically as they move in the right direction while we move toward the left. Lets look at what FIDEL CASTRO said

Fidel Castro – Socialism doesn’t work
September 9th, 2010 | Author: Bruce McQuain
We could have told him that 50 years ago:

Fidel Castro told a visiting American journalist that Cuba’s communist economic model doesn’t work, a rare comment on domestic affairs from a man who has conspicuously steered clear of local issues since stepping down four years ago.

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked if Cuba’s economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and Castro replied: "The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore" Goldberg wrote Wednesday in a post on his Atlantic blog.


The state controls well over 90 percent of the economy, paying workers salaries of about $20 a month in return for free health care and education, and nearly free transportation and housing. At least a portion of every citizen’s food needs are sold to them through ration books at heavily subsidized prices.

Of course the "Cuban model" only “worked” while the USSR existed. It was essentially based in heavy subsidies paid Cuba by the USSR for being its main proxy in the Americas. And the USSR’s woes most firmly underlined the problems with a centralized demand economy run.

Back to me..Coninuing to Express.....

So, to praise socialism/communism is to support a system that creates tremendous inefficencies (as proven by history over and over and over) as politicians decide where to allocate resources and have the freedom to determine who gets wealth (that will of course include the politicians themselves and who they like). Furthermore, the history of the world shows so many examples of where vesting that much power in govt. leads to totalitarianism. Giving that much power to anyone is inherently dangerous over time (absolute power absolutely corrupting).

As to Scandanavia, yes they are Currently a unique example of current socialistic success..They are also VERY resource rich nations...which tends to create a lot of prosperity for anyone.

and Yet the North Sea is past peak oil, Norway has been LOWERING its progressive tax rates for years, there is a lot of debate now about taxes and the whole system in Scandanavia,

AND Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in, I suspect they do not pay as great a share of defense (good or bad) and have been previously accused of free riding on Nato's protection, they are part of an EU system that may cause great strains, AND they are facing demographic issues and large pension issues that may ultimately be extremely challenging and may cause change.

Yes, they are currently successful..I honestly hope for their people's sake they can remain pretty much perhaps the only exception to the basic rules of life and economics...and history (but that certainly doesn't change the basic rules of life, economics and history) .

(PSS Reagan reduced taxes and created 21 million jobs! and Greatly Increased govt. revenues! - Anti Reaganites will tell you he increased the deficit but that is absolutely specious logic because spending increased by more as part of his intentional strategy to bankrupt the Soviets with increase military spending...Reagan and Kennedy understood taxes/redistribution can be too high.)(and the history of tax receipts and tax rates for the last 100 years proves it- with only one exception under Bush when State increases absorbed Fed decreases).

Quite the rant, Wallstreet. Many claims/opinions. Zero substantiation.

How's that capitalist/growth thing workin' for ya? For the country?

Substantiation is the hardest part. The Uncle Milties of the world said that every example of capitalism was tainted by too much government interference. He went so far as convincing the government spooks to run "clean room" tests on countries like Chile and Argentina. Wiping the slate clean and trying out a pure capitalistic system didn't work out too well, as Naomi Klein documented in Shock Doctrine.

I will look at Shock Doctrine, sounds like it could be a fabulous read. Thank you very much for the suggestion. However, just because capitalism failed somewhere does not mean it is always a failure. As the expression goes, approximately, capitalism is the worst system in the world except all the other systems.

Since my instincts perfectly pretty much align with world history with close to a 100% correlation, I believe all other systems are worse. Kings, socialists, dictators, communists, etc. not much success (pretty much none)in those experiments and they have been tried often. No, I think I'll go with human nature to succeed as the driving force for my best available but certainly not ideal economy.

Sweden is a more successful society than the USA. Perhaps the US system has failed under the "free market" Rs, but the Swedes most definitely have not !

So you are just plain wrong.


Calling them "rants" is pretty much at the line of an unfair personal attack (with zero substantiation yourself since you didn't address any single fact you asked for/wanted verification on)(and I can so before you ask I would ask you to research what I say Very Thoroughly" on the internet. If you want factual substantiation on a specific item let me know what you don't believe.

As to the capitalist system, I believe the main problem we are facing (Christmas past and present) is that we had an inflated mortgage market that had to, by structural design, blow up due to Government intervention that caused massive amounts of mortgages that should have never been issued that were "liar loans"(search that term) (ie. no income check and subprime). Fannie Mae and Fredie Mac and other govt. agencies, along with pressure from the govt. (the community reinvestment act) were the two main root causes because they intentionally pushed for them/forced their creation (by design).

And so what,... capitalism has never been a straight line up in terms of growth. The country became (past tense) the weathiest nation on earth and in all of history with zigs and zags (ie multiple recessions and depressions). In normal times, had a correctly targeted stimulus been applied, we would already be doing much better. That said, the world economy is relatively quickly and the U.S. very slowly pullling out of the recession.

As to Christmas future, that is another story...thanks to unadressed peak oil issues (and fundamental capitalist theory ala the "invisible hand" and Adam Smith says that one of the three or so important places when Govt. needs to intervene is when there is a "social resource" (ie one that can be used up by the community) and then there can need to be govt. intervention...).

1) You didn't close your parenthesizes.
2) You chose to answer "rant" yet can't be bothered to answer direct questions.

And now - the smack down of your position.

3) In your parenthetical fundamental capitalist theory ala the "invisible hand" and Adam Smith


By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.

The 'invisible hand' is using domestic production over foreign. Yet, the US of A has not been favoring domestic production, has it? So much for even following fundamental capitalist theory.

Yes, it is true I don't have time to perfectly proofread every response as I have MANY things to do, so I quickly do one proofreads.

I would answer any direct questions (my point is that the rant comment did not contain a whole lot of direct questions to answer)

First, foreign production is generally not a bad thing in moderation but the main point is that IT IS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (not the invisible hand which is the hand of INDIVIDUALS as opposed to the Govt. or a King) that has been stimulating foreign production. That simply and perfectly proves capitalist theory, it doesn't disprove, that the Government should get out of the way (great example of Govt. doing the perfectly WRONG thing and SHOULD be reducing the incentivizing of foreign production and interfering and inhibiting domestic).

As highlighted, the U.S. Government is NOT the capitalist system, they often act in opposition (and perhaps more so than ever in the United States.)

I've gotten past the discussion of whether capitalism is good or bad, right or wrong, better or worse. I've accepted that capitalism, especially in the true form that you espouse, is reliant on the exploitation of physical resources as its basis, that we are facing real, hard resource limits, and that pure capitalism is no longer viable. You persist on the restoration/continuation of an economic system that has proven itself problematic in the past and rendered itself obsolete.

At this point it looks to me like the biggest, fastest kid at the Easter egg hunt is trying to grab up the last of the Easter eggs for himself before they're all gone, while telling the other kids he'll share at some point. Trickle-down Easter egg hunt.

IMO, we now face some version of three choices: absolutism, anarchy, or some form of social democratic system, though I fear that my grandkids will have to deal with a mixture of the first two. However it plays out, there'll be centuries of blame to draw upon.

I agree with you on the first half of the first paragraph (as physical resources are necessary in general to build wealth). On the last sentence, I believe you are incorrect. All systems have problems, that doesn't prove them unworkable or obsolete, they can need major midifications however, I while I disagree and say that they can be, I agree totally that our system is not working well at all at the moment.

Again the social good...it IS the job of govt. to get involved when a social good is involved. Oil is a VITAL social good,upon which industrial society depends. The Govt. does need to be involved (unfortunately they also need to become highly involved in intellegent ways- which is always a big if for government intervention- that said doing nothing will not turn out well).

Absolutism, anarchy or social democracy are sad choices you believe are within our only choices but that is a very limiting conversation about the possiblities for the future. While I am not saying freedom with major adjustments will guaranteed succeed, it is likely the best chance for our grandkids. We need to make better decisions and the Govt. needs to make MUCH better decisions.

the main point is that IT IS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT that has been stimulating foreign production.

Got data showing the money spent with the "GOVERNMENT stimulating foreign production" vs overall foreign production?

Gonna share that data?

Or, is this more handwaving on your part?

Yes, it is called the U.S. Tax Code. There are all sorts of favorable treatments for both producing overseas and there are also Tax Code incentives for corporations to keep money overseas and not bring it back.

Research that online please as I can not take time to explain those aspects of the U.S. Tax System but you can easily find it.

(there are reasons why these incentives exist as a lot of the production is then sold overseas so this might not be a 100% straightforward issue in terms of aboloshing them but they are likely hurting the U.S. in the long term).

Research that online please as I can not take time to explain those aspects of the U.S. Tax System but you can easily find it.


Got it.

It WOULD be SO HARD TO ACTUALLY DO A LITTLE WORK YOURSELF AND LOOK SOMETHING UP rather than keep asking me to do your intellectual research.

This would have been easy to find...There are lower tax rates if corporations leave their funds overseas (it has recently been proposed to give a tax holiday so funds can be repatriated without incurring a tax on bringing the funds home). Obama himself is at this moment proposing to end tax breaks for hiring overseas. (the funny thing is while this is not the simple issue it looks like since a lot of the overseas production results in overseas exports) ironically I have been forced to argue one side of this that is basically the Dem./Union position against who I believe appears to be a liberal?

Anyway, I will not respond to you again I am finished doing easy internet work you should be willing to do yourself to learn more before asking questions or stating challenges.

It WOULD be SO HARD TO ACTUALLY DO A LITTLE WORK YOURSELF AND LOOK SOMETHING UP rather than keep asking me to do your intellectual research.

Given you admitted to just making up your claims - why should anyone trust anything you have to say in the future?

ironically I have been forced to argue one side of this that is basically the Dem./Union position against who I believe appears to be a liberal?

No. You've made claims, that when challenged, you admit were just made up.

What's next? Gonna accuse me of being a blind supporter of Government?

I will not respond to you again I am finished doing easy internet work you should be willing to do yourself to learn more before asking questions or stating challenges.

Creating a position out of whole cloth, thin air, even outright lying is "easy".

Another reply to "government sucks Grrr" position of yours:

You seem to be ignoring that these laws are made by people who are lobbied to and paid for by many large Corporations. If the corporations didn't want to have tax advantages to cheap foreign labor, why would these things keep appearing in the laws?

Redistribution is Very often a code word for socialism.

So the 'redistribution' from the lower classes to the upper classes of the 1920's was what?

What's the name of the same thing that has been going on for the last 30 or so years?

PSS Reagan reduced taxes and created 21 million jobs! and Greatly Increased govt. revenues! - Anti Reaganites will tell you he increased the deficit but that is absolutely specious logic because spending increased by more as part of his intentional strategy to bankrupt the Soviets with increase military spending.

How's that increased military spending working out? Is the Soviet Union bankrupt yet? If not, gotta keep the spending going.

I don't know what you mean by the first point but the great depression was largely caused by the Govt. First of all the Federal reserve greatly lowered the money supply and raised the discount rates (which we now know is in direct opposition to fundamental economic thought) and the Moot Tariff act killed international trade. Other causes included the dust bowl great drought.

Life in a society where the Govt. has allowed too rapid globalization, illegal immigration (which costs the middle class in terms of increased healthcare costs and premiums and local and Federal taxes, and fewer jobs) and a Govt. that keeps expanding to the point where 1/2 of all workeres work for the Govt. (and adding another 17% - partly directly- to that if the current healthcare bill goes through)

The Soviet Union collapsed(it worked perfecly and exactly as planned AND Russian documents indicate that it was the increased pressure to spend that was in large part the cause of historical change (ie. Berlin Wall falling).

I don't know what you mean by the first point

Very clear. Go re-read it.

I note you didn't touch the large transfer of wealth that is happening now. Why not?

the great depression was largely caused by the Govt. First of all the Federal reserve greatly lowered the money supply and raised the discount rates (which we now know is in direct opposition to fundamental economic thought) and the Moot Tariff act killed international trade.

So says who? Economists? Next thing you are gonna tell us is there is a Nobel prize for 'em and that a Bachelor of Science is a valid economic degree.

The Soviet Union collapsed(it worked perfecly and exactly as planned

Then why the continued spending?

I'll take the counter position - The transfer of public funds to private hands (welfare) is well accomplished by calling it military spending. It works well because rubes and suckers fall for it.

For your position to be true, the spending should have stopped once The Soviet Union collapsed. The spending continued - ergo my position is the correct one.

(and so the rest of you can be reminded of the wealth transfer - I couldn't find the link to the 26 million spent to get $9000 in LP gas to the troops in Iraq but the below links show that transfer of wealth)
And to get an idea of who's gettig fat, dumb and happy beating the Soviet Union via Iraq/Afghaistan:

Yes economists and those who research and study the various causes of the great depression (search "causes of the great depression).

The Soviet Union did collapse (search "soviet union collapse). There are many reasons why our military budgets are composed (ie. defense, foreign wars, etc.). That said, it will be entitlements and peak oil that causes grief in the future. I would also guess our military budget as a percent of GDP is not at a historical high now. Also, I believe there is very likely really tremendous waste in our military expenditures, as Govt. tends to often waste a lot, which is Govt's fault.

That is not a counter position and I agree. Military spending is established by Govt. and if it is excessive and wasteful it is the Governments fault.

There HAS been a transfer of wealth in the country and that is largely due to the Governments poor policies making people poorer, much poorer. (again the U.S. Government is not the same as capitalism and is often the opposite in real action). It is the move toward socialism (not there but toward it), toward government control and larger government, toward more state and local and Federal Taxes, toward more regulation (not that all is wrong), to giving corporate welfare to do foreign production, etc. that is stifling jobs and the middle class. You know, if you ask some government Union workers who are supported for life by middle class taxpayers they might say they personally think their own economic times are pretty good.

The myth of redistribution is that the wealthy have so much money they can just pay for everything. There just aren't that many of them compared to the middle class and even though they could pay a little more it just isn't that much too meet the wants of a possible entitlement society. Things get out or hand. When Roosevelt created social security the average life expectancy was 68. The program was designed to support people for 3 years. Societies probably don't function well if you have 1/3 of the population depending on the Government for both their retirement income and health benefits.

It is just that the wealthy are much more able to more easily adopt to government rules. Corporations move off shore, they can invest in capital instead of labor if healthcare costs go too high (perhaps 50% of health insurance costs are caused by Govt. incompetencies) and people with money can and will smartly invest in foreign countries and alternative investments (ie. emerging markets, China, India, oil, oil companies, perhaps silver and gold,etc. *).

(*disclaimer, not that I recommend these as smart investments, the only one I am fairly sure on is foreign- especially Canadian oil companies).

The Claim:

bankrupt the Soviets with increase military spending.

The result:

The Soviet Union did collapse

If the claim is TRUE then spending should have went down after the collapse.

Yet, spending is now higher than ever. ERGO - the message of "increase spending to collapse The Soviet Union" is nothing more than a lie. If the claim was true, spending would have went down.

(1992 was a recession and 1991 is when The Soviet Union stopped being. Note how the spending did not return to the 200 billion number - the spending level that would have supported the claim)

There HAS been a transfer of wealth in the country and that is largely due to the Governments poor policies making people poorer, much poorer.

Interesting claim. Yet the GINI coefficient continues to show the money is flowing to a class of people who only hold stocks for an average of 11 seconds.

But really - you are making another baseless claim.

Lets see if, rather than handwaving, you actually show "the Governments poor policies making people poorer, much poorer".

The myth of redistribution is that the wealthy have so much money they can just pay for everything.

VS the reality that the well off benefit from the military and therefore should pay for the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict? Say 100% of anything over 1 million.

You make a claim that something is a myth. Fine. What's the "truth"? Because your claims of 'Government this, Government that' has not been backed up with anything more than yet another hand waving claim.

Societies probably don't function well if you have 1/3 of the population depending on the Government for both their retirement income and health benefits.

There ya go again with the equivocation. Are things all better if over 62% of the money goes to support the socialized medicine and socialized housing as expressed by the Military? (Is that what you mean by 'going socialist' - support for The Military?)

http://www.wallstats.com/deathandtaxes/ <---- See that? Its called a LINK. It goes to data to support the position. You might wish to try that sometime.

(perhaps 50% of health insurance costs are caused by Govt. incompetencies)

Perhaps TOD is run by the fallen Greek Gods.
Perhaps I have the max prize winning lottery ticket. (and If I do I'll ask the cost to run TOD for a year and pay it. Least I can do if perhaps is an actual reality)

Too bad you put in the "perhaps" - because then you could be called out, yet again, as a liar. But with "perhaps" - you can be 100% wrong and still have people think that your opinion is worth hearing.

But do go on - show the data. Show the data to back up 50% waste. Meanwhile, do debunk the following event in my life as "Govt. incompetencies":
Gal at counter: That'll be $75. What's your insurance information
Me: I'll be paying cash.
Gal: Oh, then $21.
Me: Why the cost difference?
Gal: The extra expense of dealing with the Insurance firms.

OK, here is how the Government causes a great deal of excess expense in the healthcare system.

But before I address that you should understand that health insurance companies themselves have an average 3% profit margin. If they collect $1000 from you, they profit on average $30. They are the 47th lowest profit margin industry in the U.S.

One common sense reason for this is that it is a very competitive business (in most states). If a person is paying too much, they will often shop to see if they can get a better deal with a different carrier and companies solicit each others business to try to take away overpriced policies.

Now I did say 50% because no data is available for what I will say (I did call the Brookings Institute do do a study but they didn't do it). But think about some of the reasons and see if they don't make some sense.

1. Malpractice - The Dems in particular will not open up the issue of limiting punative damages (yes it is nice if everyone who is unfairly hurt gets to be a millionaire, even beyond their economic damages but the consumer and medical system in the end eats that cost)

2. Lack of interstate competition. Many states,6 in particular, NY is one, have very regulated markets where there is essentially no competition because few insurance companies are willing to compete under their odd rules. For instance, thanks to NY Regs . in NY insurance companies can not age rate, meaning a 20 year old and 60 year old pay the same rates. Thus, you get a lot of young people who can not afford the rates. The year NY passed its very obtrusive regs 500,000 New Yorkers fell off the health insurance rolls

3. State Mandates: Even a state like Connecticut that is semi-free market based has many regulations that drive up the cost. For instance, Ct. mandates include chiropractic, psychological, invitro-fertilization. While one can argue the merits of requiring these, they do add costs to the insurance and system.

4. Illegal immigrants. Let's say there are 20 million illegal immigrants in America. If the population of the U.S. is rounded 300 million thats 1 in 15 or 7%. They all are entitled to free healthcare in emergency rooms, both the free part and the useage mechanisms are expensive. That is by the Govts. design since the Govt. is supposed to enforce our borders, should fix the legal immigration system to allow positive immigration flows and it requires the free care. I know someone who went to a Stamford Hosptital in Ct. and said he was in a huge waiting room full of people and not one spoke english (maybe they were legal immigrants but as Stamford has a mainly english speaking population it is doubtful). I have also personally met illegal immigrants who said they did not want to pay for health insurance because they get can and do get their care for free.

5. Defensive medicine. I know someone personally who was prescribed an unnessary medication for tumors that cost 20k a year and that she could never stop taking once on it. The reason, if the doctor had any one patient who was not prescribed it who developed a problem, he could get sued.

6. The cost of malpractice insurance for some doctors is now 150k plus a year, which is why we are loosing doctors (especially ob gynecologists)(and remember supply and demand for doctors will help set their rates...fewer doctors higher rates).

7. Under reimbursement for both medicaid and medicare causes those who do pay for health insurance to pay more. Doctors get a lot of these patients. My own chiropractor said "if I had to get paid the reimbursement rate for medicare and medicaid on all my patients, I not only couldn't make a living, I couldn't pay the rent". I don't have the actual percent at my finger tips but I believe the reimbursement rates are about 85% of market (don't think that is a lot because the market pays a lot less to many doctors than it used to and doctors have many expenses, including staff and education loans and rent). That also greatly raises the insurance cost for under 65 (like you and me) as doctors have to make money somewhere.

8. Inefficiencies in data bases and medicaid fraud. Just about the only good things in the Obamacare bill. This should have been done years ago. Estimates on overtreatment due to lack of shared data are dramatic. This is one I blamed the govt. for years of inaction. It didn't take a complete overhaul of our healthcare system to intiate that or reduce rampant medicare and medicaid fraud in the system. It should have been common sense and could have been part of an overhaul that made more sense (and that congressman actually took the time to read).

Anyway, my friend, as Winston Churchill said, "if you are young and not a liberal you don't have a heart, if you are old and not conservative you don't have a brain". I was once (very likely) more liberal or at least as liberal as you but I learned that much of what I was taught was by a liberal education system and liberal media that I took as gospel in terms of their one sided perspectives. Keep researching and challenging.

Signing off and wishing you luck.

Medicare takes less than 3% for administrative overhead. Private insurers take well over 20% !

I just wish that I could opt out of inefficient for profit insurers and get a policy from the hyper efficient government. But the dang Republicans killed that "personal choice" option.

Forced me to use inefficient private sector insurers, denying me economic freedom !



By 1991 the voters had had enough. They threw out the Social Democrats for the first time since the war and installed Carl Bildt's Conservative government. Bildt set about liberalizing important state-monopolized or dominated markets, notably telecommunications and banking. As competition in telecoms cut telephone and internet access charges, Sweden became a hotbed of technology experimentation, with some of the highest penetration rates for mobile phones and internet access.

By 1991 the voters had had enough. They threw out the Social Democrats for the first time since the war and installed Carl Bildt's Conservative government. Bildt set about liberalizing important state-monopolized or dominated markets, notably telecommunications and banking. As competition in telecoms cut telephone and internet access charges, Sweden became a hotbed of technology experimentation, with some of the highest penetration rates for mobile phones and internet access.

2006 election results
Social democracy
Precursors[show]Age of Enlightenment
Classical liberalism
Utopian socialism
Trade unionism
Revolutions of 1848
Orthodox Marxism
Frankfurt Declaration
Policies[show]Representative democracy
Civil liberties
Economic democracy
Labor rights
Mixed economy
Welfare state
Fair trade
Environmental protection
Rhine Capitalism
Social corporatism
Social Market Economy
Organizations[show]Social democratic parties
Socialist International
International Union of Socialist Youth
Party of European Socialists
Young European Socialists
International Trade
Union Confederation
Leaders[show]Social Democrats · Clement Attlee · Eduard Bernstein · Léon Blum · Hjalmar Branting · Ignacy Daszyński · Tommy Douglas · Friedrich Ebert · Michael Joseph Savage · Bülent Ecevit · Jean Jaurès · Karl Kautsky · Ferdinand Lassalle · Georgi Plekhanov · John Curtin ·
v • d • e

In the 2006 general election, the Social Democratic Party received the smallest share of votes (34.99 %) ever in a general election with universal suffrage, resulting in the loss of office to the opposition, the centre-right coalition Alliance for Sweden.[5] Among the support that the Social Democratic Party lost in the 2006 election was the vote of pensioners (down 10% from the 2002 election), and blue-collar trade unionists (down 5%). The combined Social Democratic Party and Left Party vote of citizens with non-Nordic foreign backgrounds sank from 73% in 2002 down to 48% in 2006. Stockholm County typically votes for center-right parties. Only 23% of Stockholm City residents voted for the Social Democratic Party in 2006.[6]

You know I noticed the trend that some people just say things and it takes me two minutes to research them.


Sweden 26.3%[corporate] 28.89%-59.09%[individual] 31.42%[vat] 25%. 12% and 6% for some goods.[sales tax] Taxation in Sweden

United States 15-39% (federal)plus
0-12% (state) is up to 47% (U.S. MAX RATE is MUCH HIGHER- 21% HIGHER Corporate rate Than SWEDEN)

and 0-35% (federal)
0-10.55% (state) MAX RATE Individuals in U.S. 47%, 12% lower than Sweden but does not include healthcare.

and payroll 15.3% lower in U.S. 0-10.25% (state and local) roughly the same slightly lower in U.S.

So government domination of our economy in the U.S. is supposed to be too small and allow a Free market? That is capitalism and a FREE market?

AND Sweden doesn't do much to defend the world from threats (including Nazis... they remainded neutral in WWII which obviously benefits an economy but not have been a good idea if they didn't depend on others for defense).

AND so you think the govt that brought us the DMV and inner city schools can do a great job of administrating private healthcare. Let me tell you about what is happening today.. that the day, Sept. 23, new Obamacare regulations went into effect insurance premiums went up 25%!!!!. Blue Cross has announced coming hikes in January of 23% to 47%. Wait till the independents who are left and even many dems see those premiums. They will not be happy. The new regs include ingenius rules like companies must provide unlimited out of network care. IF people are upset with Obama now, wait till their premiums bills come in or their corporations have to make adjustments in peoples paychecks and insurance. The problem is people will really be suffering and loosing their coverage because of the new costs.

AND so you think the govt that brought us the DMV and inner city schools

My last visit to the DMV (this week in fact) under 15 minutes from when I walked in to when I left. Took longer to get a cell phone activated.

Inner City Schools:
Lets see - such a tag line usually translates to people without money.
If you have no money - who is going provide education for no money in your market driven utopia? What is going to be the quality of a no-money education?

Either your position is there is no need for an education if you can not pay for it, or your logic is flawed.

The readers of TOD will get to see if you can stand the heat of trying to answer 'no need for education' or if you'll admit that you are, once again, wrong.

Let me tell you about what is happening today.. that the day, Sept. 23, new Obamacare regulations went into effect insurance premiums went up 25%!!!!. Blue Cross has announced coming hikes in January of 23% to 47%.

You are ignorant of realities arn't you?

Insurance firms have a large part of their investments in the stock market and commercial real estate.
They needed a bail out due to the stock market being a fraud along with the real estate fraud - and were more than happy to have government backing that way they can guarantee profits.
So the Insurance Lobbyists asked the Government to write some law that would prevent them from becoming a failed business model.

The problem is people will really be suffering and loosing their coverage because of the new costs.

Perhaps you can explain how Insurance Firms are even needed if the issue is actual health care?

Logic and observation shows Health Care is via the health industry, not the insurance industry. One can demonstrate this by actually directly paying a hospital or doctor for health care. If the Insurance Firms were a necessity, you would not be able to pay a doctor or hospital directly.

The Conservatives did not "take over" Sweden, the Moderate Party has become the leading party in Sweden.

In the last election the Conservatives did in fact get 5.x% of the vote and got seats in the Riksdag (4% needed).

The Moderate Party has absolutely and firmly rejected going into coalition with the conservatives, preferring to form a minority government instead.

Note: Moderates are NOT conservatives, just as they are not Social Democrats. Nancy Pelosi would be quite comfortable in the Moderate Party of Sweden.

Magnus Redin is an employee of the Moderate Party. He is a technocrat who reviews all energy and environmental proposals by the politicians to make sure that they make sense (obviously the Republican Party lacks anyone doing this role in the USA).

Magnus posts here on TOD occasionally and he and I correspond via eMail.

So your view of Sweden is quite wrong. But so is much else.


PS: Until after the Cold War, Sweden has been fiercely neutral. A strong military, they even designed and built their own fighter and bomber a/c. they have never relied on anyone else for their defense.


During the Cold War, the Swedish Armed Forces were preparing to defend against a possible invasion from the Soviet Union. Even though the defensive strategy in principle called for an absolute defence of Swedish territory, military planners calculated that Swedish defence forces could eventually be overrun. For that reason, Sweden had military stores dispersed all over the country, in order to maintain the capacity of inflicting damage on the enemy even if military installations were lost.

Accordingly, among the requirements from the Swedish Air Force was that the Gripen fighter should be able to land on public roads near military stores for quick maintenance, and take off again. As a result, the Gripen fighter can be refueled and re-armed in ten minutes by a five man mobile ground crew operating out of a truck, and then resume flying sorties.


I did say 50% because no data is available for what I will say

Thank you for your admission that you are just making things up.

And thank you TOD censors for deleting that observation the last time I made it. So I'm making it again.

The post was removed because of the vulgar language.

Feel free to make your observations. Just cut out the profanity, please.

Dr Steven Chu reports directly to the President. Five years ago, shen still at Berkley, he had Powerpoint presentations with a chart from Colin Campbell as part of the set.

I have to applaude this explanation since I hold that exact view myself.
In Norway there is a proverb, translated to English it would be something like "The world likes being deceived" - and it applies accurately to Ron's above use where folks always pick the better option if realites for the worse has not yet taken place....

Much Thanks. What better source that things are not socialist perfection in Norway. I have heard the first part and will seriously consider the second. It is almost as if people often choose to feel good at the moment.

Every modern industrialized Nation is socialist. LOL. Name a country that is not and is modern. it is the underlying fabric of our civilization. Nothing else apparently has worked else it would have existed.

you must think politicians are some kind of geniuses.

Obama was clever enough when he was a student, must be that the power is blinding him now. Or when he believes a catastrophe is coming, what can he do ?

Even being a powerless genius can be blinding.

'The Specialist learns more and more about less and less until he finally knows everything about nothing..' (and vice versa for the Generalists..)

Or put otherwise, many's the PhD who still can't communicate effectively with their spouse.

Speaking of Which, Scientists, ahem.. did anyone catch "Living on Earth" in the last week or so? They reviewed this book, or interviewed the author, Randy Olsen, I mean... Don't be such a scientist. Where he goes in to the art of Storytelling as a means for Science to connect better with the 'Audience'.. Of course, he uses the frame of "Hollywood Storytelling" to build this idea, which could shut some peoples' ears to the idea immediately.. but I have to think there will be useful notions in this premise, if 'we' (at TOD, EB, ASPO, RealClimate) are to move these ideas with their bulky Data and Explanations into a more Popular conversation.



("...It was a lesson Olson learned the hard way, after his intelligent design documentary, Flock of Dodos, flopped for lack of a lively story line...")


(And if you're going to Snark on Hollywood, you should keep in mind the movies that you LOVE and RESPECT, not the ones you despise, and not the ones that just make a lot of money, since it was THOSE FORMER ones that were made by artists who know how to connect ideas and put them into a context that gets across to smart people like YOU. Here, I'll put a smiley on that one.. :> )

Obama was clever enough when he was a student

But, I now suspect that what got him ahead waws his uncanny ability to triangulate, and that must have affected him. I see his presidency as having a terminal case of triangulation disease.

You edited your post considerably while I was typing and posting my reply. Therefore I will reply to your edited post as a different post altogether.

After all Hirsch, Whipple, Simmons ,two former UK government ministers, and many many others have all said that the people at the top understand but have taken political decisions to say nothing. But no - you choose to ignore them and assume you have worked it all out and they are all dumb.

Well, I would need a link here. Where did they make that statement? I have never read it. And if they did make such a statement how in hell would they know. Even if they were informed of such that does not mean they believe it. Top politicians get told thousands of different things over the course of their terms. They believe what they need to believe and disbelieve what does not fit their view of the world.

Can I suggest you write to the CIA with that quote, your Peak Oil insights and a link to this thread.

Now you are getting facetious. Such a comment does not deserve a reply.

Out of curiosity what would you do if you were made President of the USA right now?

I haven't a clue as to what I would do. That is another subject. The question is, does the president and other top politicians know that the world is headed for collapse because of peak oil. No, I do not believe they do. Politicians, including the president, usually reflect the opinions of their constituents. It is really quite presumptuous of you to believe that they are really aware of all these things. No, I take that back, not presumptuous, just uninformed of how smart politicians really are.

Ron P.

Well, I would need a link here. Where did they make that statement? I have never read it.

For goodness sake Whipple says just that in the very article we are commenting on. You might be interested to Google Michael Meacher Peak Oil and Brian Wilson Peak Oil. Both are ex UK Government ministers (Energy and Environment).

Since you did not give a quote, I suppose you are talking about this one:

Presidents, of course, have to balance many competing forces. Since the nature of our coming problem became obvious to many five or six years ago, both the Bush and the Obama administrations have concluded that it is best to muddle along and not say anything to disturb the national polity.

First, this is just an opinion of what Tom thinks they knew. Opinions are a dime a dozen. Daniel Yergin would give a different opinion of what Bush knew or what Obama knows now. And Tom says only that many knew. I am sure that many did.

If you have any links please post them. If you have any quotes please post them. So far you have posted nothing along those lines.

I really don't believe that Bush or Obama have a clue as to the coming catastrophe. But then that is just my opinion and opinions are a dime a dozen.

Ron P.

I really don't believe that Bush or Obama have a clue as to the coming catastrophe. But then that is just my opinion and opinions are a dime a dozen.

So what is your dime a dozen opinion? That Bush or Obama don't have a clue? That there is a coming catastrophe? That opinions are a dime a dozen?

Experience leads me to suspect it's the coming catastrophe thing.

Do you want to meet me in Washington? You could march with your "The End is Nigh" sign, and I could follow you around with my "Or Not" picket.

Can I suggest you write to the CIA with that quote, your Peak Oil insights and a link to this thread.

Now you are getting facetious. Such a comment does not deserve a reply.

You are asserting that your analytical capabilities are superior to that of the CIA. Not only that you are asserting they can't even see the elephant you see so clearly in the room, let alone be even concerned about it. That's quite a claim.

I wonder if security agencies ever do anything in secret?


Q: That was in 2006, under Bush administration. Has anything changed with the Obama administration ?
Hirsch: It has not changed. I have friends who simply won’t talk about it now. So I have to assume that they are receiving the same kind of instructions.
Glen Sweetnam, who was heading the publication of DoE’s annual Energy Outlook at that time, admitted that « a chance exists that we may experience a decline » of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015. Less than a month later, he was transferred to the National Security Council, where he is now under direct authority of the White House. Were you surprised by his statement ?
Hirsch: Yes, I was very surprised by what Glen (Sweetnam) said, because everything in the DoE is very controlled. Glen must have gone ahead and done it, and nobody reviewed his remarks.

Q: When I asked Secretary Steven Chu and the political staff of the DoE to comment on Glen Sweetnam’s statement, they replied with a « no comment ».
Hirsch: I think it would be very difficult to get any more information on this. Now that Glen Sweetnam is at the National Security Council, it’s like he’s not in the circulation, he’s not going to give any public presentation anymore.

Q: Yet it seems like Steven Chu, Obama’s Secretary of Energy, is aware of the ‘peak oil’ issue.
Hirsch: Oh yes he is !

Undertow, please see Leanan's post above and my reply to it.

Ron P.

I understand your opinion. It's just that in this case I'll take Tom Whipple's (former senior energy analyst for the CIA with 30 years service) "opinion" that "they" (at the top) know but choose to say nothing over your opinion that they are misguided at best and clueless at worst.

I'm not getting at you personally as I respect the vast majority of your posts but I think you have a blindspot about this particular issue.

In your opinion though I am wrong and as I can't know everything perhaps I am. But for now I choose to believe, based on everything I read, that TPTB know more than they let on. Perhaps we'll find out one day. Or perhaps we'll just all vanish one Sunday morning in a flash of intense light. The latter is where I fear we might be headed.

But with a bit of luck we're a bunch of nuts and the rosiest scenarios presented in public by the EIA, CERA, Steve Forbes, OPEC etc. turn out to be true. I'm not counting on that though.

I told you all to vote for me as president during the last top office election cycle. I even stated on my blog my thoughts on the office. Ron has had several emails from me about that subject, but alas I'll have to run for a lower office and work my way up the ladder till I get to the white house when I am 85.

On a side note, a bit of a story for your white flash, that everyone goes off into.


Tommy asked his mother if he could work in the basement on that bright Sunday morning. He had to finish his project before going to sunday school, because he had plans in the afternoon with several friends to go fishing. Science projects were such a bore at times, but this one was going to make a big impression on people he just knew it.

Hooking up the wires and twisting the knobs he was ready for a test and pushed the button. The house lights flickered and the smell of burning wires was getting stronger, as he flipped that last lever.

Tommy was only going to test it once before the final showing at school on monday morning. But alas, everyone within a 50 mile radius simply disappeared in a blinding flash of light.


Be careful the ideas you give little kids and science fiction authors.

BioWebScape Designs for a better fed and housed world, aka Author at Large.

I thought President Bush's plan for Peak Oil was/is spot on. Quietly buy land in Paraguay. Leave with family before the shooting starts. Sounds good to me. Wish I could tag along, maybe help with the gardening.

"Whatever that means..."

It means that they don their parachutes and pray for a soft landing for the rest of us.

Unfortunately I really don't think most politicians have the foggiest clue. They basically just pass legislation handed to them by their corporate "donors" and try to look good on TV so they can get re-elected.

Even the University of California does not have a clue. I think a major bike storage area was proposed on one of the campuses and it was denied, since it

"ruined the architectural appeal of the site"


We are doomed. That is California trying to deal with overcrowded bike racks on its campuses.

I don't think politicians are keeping a secret.

The politicians (Bush and Obama at least) know and prefer to lie - I think the article has it about right. Don't you think it's the true reason we went to war and continue to occupy IRAQ? Lot of other examples, and people like Alan Greenspan have talked about it since leaving office.

You don't need to know anything about peak oil to go to war (Iraq). Think of the hundreds of billions of profits that were made from numerous contracts. I always remember those missiles that rained down were costing a million dollars each (and the corporation that was paid that subcontracted out the work and paid eighty thousand each). $920,000 multiplied by ? is a huge (slush) fund to pay bribes, hire retiring brass, supply hookers etc and still have handsome (dirty) profits. The troops that continue to occupy Iraq still have dirty laundry (at $100 a bag) times 7 years times 100,000 plus troops.

Its been said elsewhere that 10 days of spending for Iraq/Afghanistan would be able to pay for all of the college tuitions for one year.

Pessimistic? Nah, just realistic >;^>

Gotta love the ending...

It seems almost certain now that we are actually going to drive ourselves over a great economic cliff with banners of "growth," "jobs," "return to the good old days," and "no taxes" streaming in the wind. It is going to be one hell of a train wreck - unlike anything the American people have ever known.

Too bad Hollywood won't be making many movies after that happens, because it would surely be a hell of a blockbuster! Americans still think that life is just one long movie. Popcorn and soda anyone?

The "Thelma & Louise" moment:


IMO, neither US political party questions, at least in public, the viability of the auto centric suburban way of life. The Democrats think that we can seamlessly transition to alternative fuels, so they propose that we drive to the edge of the cliff in a plug-in hybrid, while the Republicans think that we have near infinite fossil fuels, so they think that a Hummer provides a more comfortable ride as we drive toward the edge of the cliff.

The cliff edge metaphor also works for unsustainable levels of government spending in OECD countries, versus constrained oil supplies. In fiscal terms, OECD countries are basically racing each other to the fiscal cliff edge (their premise being that current budget difficulties are temporary, and not permanent).

The Democrats think that we can seamlessly transition to alternative fuels, so they propose that we drive to the edge of the cliff in a plug-in hybrid, while the Republicans think that we have near infinite fossil fuels, so they think that a Hummer provides a more comfortable ride as we drive toward the edge of the cliff.

That sizes it up pretty clearly. One party suggesting we need only use less energy to make the transition, while the other says energy supply constraints are non-existent. But neither faces the root of the problem, reduced net energy moving towards an economic cliff.

Evidently a majority of Independents are swinging to the right in this coming election, which is a vote for the Hummer. It really chaps my hide all the fervor during this campaign over anything but net energy decline. People got the 'you know what' scared out of them in the real estate bubble bursting/ super high priced oil event in which many of us lost a whole lotta equity, not to mention those that lost their shirts with high risk equity, stocks. Now they want a different course, to throw the bums out to chart a new and better course!

It's shocking how easily distracted and uninformed most people are, but also equally dismaying how determined most are to remain in a BAU state of mind. But maybe just as irresponsible for those at the top and in the know, to not find some way to slowly break it to the populace of the reality of the situation. As if it is sufficient to focus on what one wants in deference to an underlying difficulty, higher priced oil, with the near future prospect of a supply crunch leading to greater unemployment and disenfranchisement. Just lock and load those blinders and all will be well? Oh no, it won't!

The political landscape here in Nevada is nothing except "My opponent is really bad". Harry Reid caused all the problems and Sharon Angle is a kook thus nothing of substance is discussed at the national level. The state level for governor is essentially the same. At the local level it becomes a personality contest again with nothing of substance about transition to a lower energy level.

This is apparently how one gets elected as being the lesser of evils. "We should ration all kinds of fuel till we figure out what to do." or any other plan is a nonstarter because it gives something of substance for one's opponent to shoot at.

I've been thinking of dressing up as 'The Political Opponent' for Halloween. Can there be a darker, scarier person ANYWHERE in the world?

Sharon Engle's ads are pure John Carpenter! They'd be funny if they weren't so wretched..

Good Luck, Lynford!

I was just in rural Nevada. The Sharon Angle signs and stickers were everywhere.
Who said late stage capitalism would not be fun? This would make Orwell blush.

"We should ration all kinds of fuel till we figure out what to do" or any other plan is a nonstarter because it gives something of substance for one's opponent to shoot at.

Well, that particular plan is a nonstarter when I'm voting, but for a different reason. Whoever owns your ration card owns you.

It'd be just begging for favoritism and bullying, just as you discover that it was in World War II, once you take off the romantic "communitarian" blinders and ask the old-timers to stop parroting the wartime propaganda and tell what really happened. Food smuggled out of PX's in car engine compartments, gasoline cans sold under the back counter, etc. etc. etc. And that was just with a (mostly) temporary and short-lived "system" - never mind doing it on a permanent basis, with the corruption, favoritism, bullying, and thuggery getting ever worse with each and every passing year. Sorry, no thanks.



"It'd be just begging for favoritism and bullying"

You don't think our current form of capitalism is rife with bullying and favoritism? You just don't mind it because all the favoritism is toward the rich and all the bullying is toward the poor.

Of course it is. But they don't carry guns. And if they piss off enough people they get bad press, which affects revenue. None of those arguments work for governments.

Poverty can be just as deadly as bullets.

I'm an old guy. I was there. I remember a lot of trading going on like "Two sugars and a coffee for a 2 gal stamp cause I want to go see the folks". Extortion might have been your experience or from the older ones in your area.

Proabition must have been fun too. My Dad tells about running booze from Canada to Chicago just before I was born. He didn't get caught and it kept food on the table for his family for a while.

BTW: the rationing idea was just an example of an argument that someone might use in an election ... you don't HAVE to vote for it.

Yea, but now the "little guy" can get in on the government backed corruption.

IMO, neither US political party questions, at least in public, the viability of the auto centric suburban way of life.

And I'd say that isn't quite right.

You have some of 'em pushing trains. A few talking about 100 liters a day of water use. (Both Agenda 21 items. Go read Agenda 21 and see if its not attempting to address the end of cheap energy.)

As for a upthread comment that 'Obama and Bush had no clue about what's coming'. Pretending that the topic of 'what's coming' is an end to cheap energy Bush is on record saying "America is addicted to oil" and the Texas house bought with the funds from the baseball team shows that the poster is busy making the claims fit the posters biases.

And Al Gore putting renewables on his place and making "An Inconvenient Truth" is just a case of him trying to promote and maximize his investments in alternatives.

there will still be movies, but they will be lower budget and delivered via the internet.

It reads like an obituary.

"Mass Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" should be updated to include the present chapter-in-progress.

I like this part, contrasted with reality:

A change of heart by a President who soon will be up for reelection does not seem likely.

Should he sit down in front of the cameras some night and explain the realities of depleting fossil fuels to American people, the results are likely to be bad.

And the reality: the President goes on Comedy Central's John Stewart Show again last night to pander for votes.

It really is a comedy after all - I knew it!

Jon Stewart was not much different than the usual pundit in that peak oil and global warming were completely off the radar screen. Obama, however, did mention that we still need to address the "energy" problem. But he did not left a finger to get a bill on the global warming bill when it was languishing in the Senate.

Politicians learned their lessons from the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. Telling the American people the truth is a sure recipe for political suicide. Those who are currently elected did not get there by telling the truth. And there is no prospoect that they will start now. The politicians will act when the truth is clear to the vast majority of Americans. By that time, it will be too late. Although, to be honest, I think it is already too late to avoid disaster. The only question is, how big do we want the disaster to be.

A major lifestyle change and restructuring of our daily lives is required. Why would be expect any politician to commit suicide by dealing with that issue.

And what is the point in telling the truth if no one is listening? How effective will a politician be if that politician does not get reeelected? On the right, at least, I guess there are exceptions. Sarah Palin comes to mind. Her influence is greater as a well paid gadfly than as a Governor of Alaska.

The politicians will act when the truth is clear to the vast majority of Americans.

Unfortunately, the truth will probably never be clear to the vast majority. Consider: though American oil production peaked in 1970, "Drill Baby, Drill!" was a credible slogan in the 2008 Presidential election and the 1970 peak was never mentioned during the campaign by any mainstream politician or journalist. Nobody even asked a Republican how much oil they were talking about. Think about how strange that is.

Oil will certainly be scarce in the future, but the mainstream will never talk about how much remains. Geologic limits are taboo. The shortage will be blamed on a succession of bogeymen, just as America's oil supply problems since 1970 were blamed on Arabs and environmentalists.

Those who suggest geologic limits will be shouted off the stage as Chicken Littles.

Those who suggest geologic limits will be shouted off the stage as Chicken Littles.

If they are so lucky. More likely they will be lynched as the paid tools of the evil speculators.

“I’m calling on communities across the UK to harness the power of their rivers and streams to generate electricity and money.”

(Greg Barker, Uk Climate change minister)


What a load of tosh! - again!!!! The so-called Government really has no grasp of the UK predicament, to say nothing of the general public.

People in the MSM are finally getting honest about the on-time possibilities of anything remotely like adequate amounts of wind
power in the UK.


I live in Essex, a very flat part of the UK, if we have to rely on our rivers for energy we won't even have enough energy to have a hot cup of tea!

What is 'Tosh', exactly, and how big is a big load of it?

Would it be a potential biofuel, if the Hydro option in your lazy rivers and canals doesn't pan out?

(I've just invested in a Nano-Nano-Hydro scheme that draws power from the Men's Restrooms across the UK, but there has been a problem getting EROPI numbers because some of the team wants to extract the heat as well..) Noone has mentioned the P potential in that Pee yet, but those Permacultists are never too far away.

tosh (t sh) n. Chiefly British. Foolish nonsense. [Probably blend of trash and bosh.] tosh [tɒʃ] n. Slang chiefly Brit nonsense; rubbish [of unknown origin]

Bosh \Bosh\, noun [Turk.] Empty talk; contemptible nonsense; trash; humbug.

Back in 1984 I met a young man from France who told me that "un Tosh" is a synonyme for a marijuana cigarette (spliff/joint) in French - in reference to reggae musician Peter Tosh.

Joke not Jok.
We in UK do get large dollops of tosh daily about all doing our little bit, while we ignore one large elephant in almost every room: the approximately 1 cubic kilometer of insulation needed over the next short while, but unlikely to actually ever get fitted (approx. calculation by graduate students and passed to me by their Uni teacher on energy).

Thanks for all the responses.. of course, I had thought that perhaps the word derived from America's favorite nonsense.. maybe I was thinking 'Tush'.

..and as always, I love to scavenge for free droppings that have some underappreciated value!.. as in Matt Groenig's:

'When life gives you crap, make crap-ade!'


if we have to rely on our rivers for energy we won't even have enough energy to have a hot cup of tea!

Oh come now, surely you exaggerate! I'm sure that even in the UK there must be a half dozen or so days a year where you can make some solar tea.

Not to mention that didn't the proposal just get made to sell off a bunch of forests (which oh by the way consume no electricity / fuel) so that private developers can put in more resorts / golf courses / theme parks or whatever else in the name of "growth" (all which consume a bunch of energy)... as always, running to stand still.

Tosh indeed...

Interesting to read these responses.

Was watching a program on the formation of UK national grid last night which highlighted how a tory govt introduced this form of nationalist enterprise in a ruthless way. In case anyone hadnt noticed the UK planning act 2008 was passed (by the previous govt) so largely forget local protest against essential infrastructure.

I highlighted this press release and accompanying papers as it plugged a gap in the FITs system to allow remanufactured turbines to qualify for tariffs. Cue laughter at this low carbon solution to meet a very small proportion of future UK electricity supply.

And the wind power expansion in the UK is mostly offshore.

I live in Essex, a very flat part of the UK, if we have to rely on our rivers for energy we won't even have enough energy to have a hot cup of tea!

Move to Scotland!


Blair Atholl Watermill is one of Scotland's oldest working water mills dating back to 1590's. It continues to stonegrind oatmeal and flours for sale and for use in the mills own tea room.

Don't tell anyone else though or they'll all head there :-)

I have just returned from the Knoydart peninsular in Scotland - my favorite place in all the world.It is a remote community 20 miles from the nearest road ... all it's electricty is generated from HEP, the community has a pub, the Old Forge (the remotest pub in mainland Britain) which mostly serves fine food that either is fished out of the local loch, farmed locally, or wild game from the local mountains.


However, I doubt they would survive without massive infusions of cash from outsiders like me or the Government and most importantly large amounts of diesel and fuel oil. The average UK person uses ~120kWh of primary energy per day (half of it on our behalf by the Government) ... sadly, I bet the output of Blair Atholl's water mill wouldn't supply anywhere enough energy to allow BAU for even one person.

Although my part of England is flat there is still a medieval water mill at the bottom of my hill and a medieval windmill at the top near my house ... when they were built they ground the flour for maybe just a couple of hundred inhabitants (mostly children)... now the local population is maybe 100 times greater and that is the main underlying problem which is unlikely to be adressed by sane humans.

China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd (CNOOC Ltd) and Ghana National Petroleum Corp together outbid Exxon Mobil for oil assets in the west African nation of Ghana, reports said Wednesday.

The $5 billion offer topped the over $4 billion offer from Exxon Mobil for Kosmos Energy LLC assets - which include a 23.49 percent stake in the Jubilee oil field. Located some 12 km from the Ghanaian coastline, Jubilee oil field holds an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of crude. The deal has attracted global oil giants including Total, BP, Sinopec, Chevron and Sweden Petroleum Group.

I came across this today and the numbers popped out at me. At the US current consumption rate of roughly 20 million barrels a day, this oil field will cover our needs for exactly 90 days!!! An uninformed reader wouldn't think of it that way. Its just amazing how much oil we are actually burning in a day.


And in other news, China continues to gobble up oil where ever it can find it.

From above:

Oil in New York is facing resistance at $81.74 a barrel, setting the stage for prices to climb to $87 or fall to $78, based on levels using Fibonacci analysis, the Schork Group Inc. said.

I always get a kick when I read people who preach the gospel of private sector wealth creation and public sector dependence on this 'real' wealth.

Good ol' Schork dorks, providing the necessities of life for all the welfare queens and overpaid public sector employees.

For me, financial technical analysis is a pure form of parasitism.

They might as well be reading tea leaves. What's with this Fibonacci analysis, but another form of numerology? They really are parasites and charlatans.

Current Prices
Brent Blend        83.17  
Tapis              89.40   
Alaska North Slope 81.40  
Dubai 1M           80.09   
Louisiana Sweet    85.15 
Urals              81.42 
WTI                82.03  
Oman 1M            80.11 
Minas              83.51 
Forties            82.82 
Bonny Light        84.37

Algeria becomes first OPEC nation to admit they are in decline.

Algeria says 2011 energy output to fall

Asked to explain the forecast drop in earnings for 2011, Finance Minister Karim Djoudi told Reuters: "It's because, regarding quantities, production and exports will decline."

Algeria supplies about a fifth of Europe's energy needs and is also the world's eighth largest crude exporter.

Other OPEC nations clearly in decline are Ecuador, Qatar, Iran, Venezuela and perhaps a few others. Angola is currently in decline but coming megaprojects could turn that around.

Ron P.

Pretty much usual recurring pattern. Here is what the EIA shows for Algeria from 2007 to 2009:


P: 2.17 mbpd
C: 0.27
NE: 1.90


P: 2.13 (-0.9%/year)
C: 0.32 (+8.5%/year)
NE: 1.81 (-2.4%/year)

NE-Net Exports

Note that the C/P ratio went from 12.4% in 2007 to 15.2% in 2009, a 10.2%/year rate of increase. At this rate of increase, they would be consuming 100% of their own production sometime around 2027.

IMO, the two sets of numbers that are the most overlooked, but that will have the most impact on the world economy, are the increase in the C/P ratio for oil exporting countries (from 26% in 2005 to 29% in 2009) and the increase in Chindia's net oil imports as a percentage of global net exports (from 11% in 2005 to 17% in 2009).

How about this report at http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2010-10-28/peak-oil-notes-october-28

The US Geological Survey has sharply reduced its estimate of undiscovered oil in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska on Alaska's Central North Slope. The new estimate, released Tuesday, is 896 million barrels of oil, a drop of more than 90 percent from the 2002 estimate of 10.6 billion barrels.


We discussed that, in great detail, on yesterday's Drumbeat.

Ron P.

Oh what short memories we have, even on TOD


No one here has that short a memory Ralph. We all know that Indonesia withdrew from OPEC because they became an importer, not an exporter. Therefore Indonesia is not a member of OPEC!

Algeria, to my knowledge, is the only current member of OPEC to admit declining production though it has been obvious for years that Ecuador is in decline.

Ron P.

Venezuela could probably turn around decline but that would require Chavez bringing in outsiders or pouring a lot of investment money into oil extraction. Neither of those seems likely in the near future.

I imagine most people here are at least a little familiar with the LEED building rating system (commonly just called 'green' buildings). It's probably also been noted that the USGBC, that runs the certification system, is being sued for misrepresenting how energy efficient those buildings actually are. There have been studies that go either way, but having looked at the point system myself, it's certainly possible that a building that isn't much more energy efficient could still be certified by using such things as low VOC paint, low water use landscaping, carefully shielded outdoor lighting, and the like.

But I was reading about the lawsuit and noticed this quote from the mechanical engineer/technician who filed it.

Asked why he is motivated to go to court, Gifford says, “I’m afraid that in a few years somebody really evil will publicize the fact that green buildings don't save energy and argue that the only solution [to resource constraints] is more guns to shoot at the people who have oil underneath their sand.” In other words, he says he's hoping to make the green building movement more honest so that it’s not embarrassed down the road.

I'm not sure their 'in other words' is what he's really getting at.

Edit: here is the link http://greensource.construction.com/news/2010/101022Class-Action_Suit.asp

The solution is so simple to make an energy green. Don't use heat or AC. I finally turned my furnace on yesterday. The coldest it had dropped in here up to that point was 59F, but after 5 days straight of clouds, it just wasn't warming up in here. So i caved. In the future, i'd just rip out a length of wood flooring or tear off some trim and burn it in the living room while telling stories to my 8 kids about how good it use to be.

59? My goodness, there must have been ice in the toilet bowl! You couldn't manage to find something appropriate to wear that would have allowed you to be comfortable at that temperature?

My prediction: many of us will eventually get to a situation where we wish we could get the room up to 59. And a room to heat too.

My wife was ready to take the kids and leave and she even said i should go live with my mom (that usually gets me motivated).

I can handle temps down to 50F, but after that i start to get chilly (inside). I ran 5 days a week all last winter from Oct 1 until March 15... Several of those days were in the low single digits and i did fine, although my face went numb. I'm no stranger to cold.

Well if your mom is hot, then maybe she can keep you warm ;-)

My wife and I have a little issue about the temp of the house.

I think 63-64 range is reasonable but she wants 68.

Wonder what she will like when NG triples in price.

She will still want the temp @68. John

My partner likes it nice and cool - like, 60. She also likes fresh air, and will open the bedroom window in rather chilly weather. I like it cool, too. But I have to change my clothes when going to visit normal people at their (overheated, to me) homes.

What a day in central NH! - near 70 and just gorgeous, with the last of the Fall color. The oaks are particularly beautiful this year. I just put another cord of wood in the shed - 2 more to go and I'll have my 4 cords. Another load of hay in the loft, and I'll say "bring on the Winter".

It's beautiful here in PA today as well. I went for a walk at lunch through this lovely industrial park, thinking about the 3 cords of ash that I split by hand neatly stacked up by the tree line in the upper field. They MUST be move down to the porches at the house this weekend. Cutting and splitting I love, but moving it - what a pain. So sad - there's so much I could have done today.

What a day in central NH! - near 70

You're on the east side of that tremendous record breaking low pressure system. Pumping lots of air northward. Its moving into Hudson bay area and slowly dying, so maybe you will miss the cold northwinds on the backside.

We don't let here in the house anymore. She probably still has her windows open for fresh air (its 41F here right now).

Our bills are very economical. Last winter our highest bill (electric/gas) for a month was right around $150 and that is a zone 4 winter (we had a lot of below 0F readings). If gas triples? The wood stove gets put into use and i make midnight runs to the local parks with my Husqvarna. We also need to add wall insulation and possible a stripper pole.

What kind of stripper pole though? Brass or stainless steel?

I am only starting on insulation this year. Here in N. Calif. should be able to do a lot with attic and wall insulation blown in through little holes in the walls.

Gasp. I may insulate the floors myself in the crawl space under my house.

but first need to finish the retaining wall before the rains pick up. Only so much human power to go around in a year.

Pure silver... good for disease and a great place to store wealth.

I have to remove the siding and clapboard and then insulate between the studs...would like to then wrap the whole house in pink foam board (for wind).... I've seen other people do it that way up here. Then hang the new siding to the foam board (furring strips?)... i don't know anymore. Sometimes a cardboard box, shopping cart and a burn barrel would be a better route.

"I have to remove the siding and clapboard and then insulate between the studs...would like to then wrap the whole house in pink foam board "

Sorry my friend, but this is the wrong way to go......take time to get off the technology merry-go-round for a while. Just because you've "seen other people do it", by no means makes it right.

Build underground, small, would be a first choice. Super insulate. Burn the old house for heat in an underground dwelling. If you don't have the Cajones for real sustainability in your lifestyle choices, and it sounds like you don't, then build and insulate from the inside of the existing structure. One room at a time....super insulate. A house in a house.

But I doubt you will do much more than, what "other people do".....and that means you will not survive.


I think his plan to Insulate the Exterior is a good one. Keeps the interior structure for thermal mass but cuts the bridging to the cold, keeps the invested housing in service instead of tossing it away. Sure, the pink stuff is a 'Techno product'.. but it's here today, and it can help preclude the burning of fuel in far greater amounts. I'm all for it.

Below-ground is fine, but it's a big endeavour, and there are few who know how to do it right. You need somewhere to live in the meantime, not only to build it, but to research and plan it properly.. Underground is part of that Merry-go-round as well.. but whether it's a good part of Architecture or a poor one is all about the execution of it, no less than how one retrofits existing buildings to perform well.

Sorry to hear you so confident in predicting his odds of success. Says more about you than about him.

Full underground is problematic, especially when codes are involved. Sleeping spaces must have 2 or more routes of egress/escape. Structure, ventalation, humidity, etc., all present challenges. Our house is nestled into the south side of a hill, earth sheltered to the north, passive solar to the south. Living spaces face the sun, utility spaces in back.

Insulation and foam board sounds like a good plan, though expanded foam sprayed in from the outside may be a better choice. Fiberglass insulation applied from the outside with no internal vapor barrier can create a moisture problem in northern climates in winter. Expanded foam is closed cell and won't absorb/condense moisture like fiberglass, though it's not a DIY process. With tax credits and you doing the prep/finish work, it may be doable. Firring strips aren't necessary unless the foam is 1" or more (with horizontal siding). Just use longer nails and make sure studs are well marked. OSB shear wall can be as cheap as firring strips and provides more strength to your walls (and a small R-value) or consider 4x8 siding such as Hardy Panel.

I'm in a lath/plaster 1860, and have done much cellulose inside the walls for a starter, but the ideal would be a full exterior shell in addition, to cut the bridging by all that wood framework. I'd prefer 1.5" or 2" .. will have to see what's managable.. and I'll have some fun woodworking to redo the Window Trim, but I love a good challenge.

I'd also (pending spousal design approval) make Shutters that LOOK traditional but contain Polyiso foam in them, to shutter windows at night. The mechanisms would all be operated from inside, or possibly on Timers/ Day-Night Sensors.. erp! But I'm back on the Merry Go Round again.. drat!

Here in N. Calif. should be able to do a lot with attic and wall insulation blown in through little holes in the walls.

The attic is accessable, so it makes it the easy target. Around here (PG&E territory) the standars are R30 for attic where there is at least 18inches between the ceiling and the roof. Walls, and thin roofing IIRC correctly are R19. And the attic never gets as cold as the outside walls, or as hot as outside walls with the sun on them, so the walls are likely the bigger loss area. But even if you are willing to open them up to get access, they are thin enough that you can't load them up with a lot of insulation. So you take the lower hanging fruit, and live with the rest. Heres what I've done:

(1) Attic insulation. Find some on sale. You can but whatever thickness gives the best price per cubic foot (or square-foot time R value). It is easy to strip batts, into 2 or 3 or four thinner batts. Place a couple to a few inches at right angles on top of the original stuff.

(2) Windows: They are already double. Trying some thermal curtains, which should help somewhat, mainly because windows by themselves provide very low R values (probably 2-4 -but maybe someone knows), and adding a couple more via curtains should help a lot. Of course, open the drapes on sunny windows during the day for passive solar thermal gain. And caulk around windows every year -it also keeps the Argentine ants out.

(3) Trees and vines. More important for keeping sun off the walls/windows. But, on clear cold nights, they will keep outside walls a couple of degrees warmer. Im working on getting maybe half of my walls that get serious summer sun shaded. Winter gaind are too small to justify the investment by itself.

Double honeycomb blinds are best (about R-4) for windows. I mounted mine inside the frame and speced 1/8" inch too big to get a tight fit (one is so tight that it cannot easily go up or down).

Adding insulating curtains outside the frame would add even more R-value.


No air conditioning in my house. I try to keep the heat off to catch the south-side solarization from our picture window, which can bring the inside up to 78 on a sunny day. then we let the temp slide down to 64 at night. Of course the nice picture window is a liability in winter.

Then in the dead of winter (lol in N. Calif. winter is not like New England where I lived before) do we need to add some heat to bump up to like 64. I wish I could get my wife to go 64 this winter. Lets see on that.

Cellulose in the attic soon.

Then wet cellulose will be blown in via 1.5 inch holes on the drywall side in all the walls. it is the easiest method. Spray foam works too. I may go cellulose. But I am considering foam.

Need to replace the darn leaky windows in the bathrooms. They are Jalousie windows which kill the bathrooms' heat. Good only to vent quickly to release humidity I guess. We keep the bathroom doors closed, but they loose tons of heat due to drafting via the windows.

People believe that by getting a "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design"
certification they will get a low energy use building.
They will not.
They were misled by the Green Building Council(LEED) and now those people want to sue.
The process of getting a LEED certification costs tens of thousands of dollars.

The only building standard that mandates large energy savings is Passive House
which restricts space heating to a maximum of 15 kwh/m2 per year, space cooling to 15 kwh/m2 per year and all primary energy use to 120 kwh/m2 per year. There is an additional requirement that the house be proved airtight with a field test of .6 air changes per hour under 50 Pascals of negative pressure.

I believe you are correct. LEED AP's are saying it was just a matter of time.

LEED is a great concept but could be achieved with little energy or fossil fuel savings. It is my understanding that the really valuable energy saving 'items' are the hardest to achieve....i.e. proving (modeling) that your building is really going to use much less heat/AC than the typical building. Or that's what a MEP engineer told me, anyway.

Funny how LEED recently became such a big deal in the US, even mandated in some areas, while Passivhaus appears to have been estabilished in Germany and other places for quite some time. Maybe not widespread, but... Look at toilets, for instance. Almost every toilet I've seen in Europe was 'dual flush', so you could use just a little water after urination. I just now saw the first Home Depot ad for a 'dual flush' toilet here in the US. 3 or 4 years ago their 'big thing' was a toilet that would flush several golf balls at once.

Excuse my simplified example, but.....that just sounds like something you'd hear on the Daily Show.

Initially I was going to reply that LEED is focussed on commercial buildings (though there is a much less rigorous LEED for homes standard) and that Passivehaus is a residential standard.

But a quick google and Passivehaus has been applied to commercial buildings.

A few things:

1. LEED includes a good bit more than energy:
the Site and its convenience to density, services and transportation, avoiding floodplain and prime agricultural land and encouraging brownfield redevelopment, Water Effciency, Material and Resources (recycled, non-toxic, renewable, etc), and Indoor Environmental Quality (daylighting, indoor air quality, low VOC paints, sealants, carpets, etc).

2. Energy efficiency is simpler with a smaller building; and heating is easier than cooling. In typical large office buildings just perimeter heat is needed since people and equipment generate plenty of heat. That said, 90% of commercial buildings are less than 10,000 sf. And in temperate or dry climates Passivhaus likely would work well.

3. USGBC is a great brand and a reasonable process to move the ball forward. The design community is inherently conservative (they assume liability if something doesn't work as planned). For Passivehaus US to pick up steam there need to be great examples in a diversity of building types and climates.

Green is the color of MONEY.

USGBC is an incentive based system based on USGBC branding.
The more money you spend the more points you get.
The more money you spend the higher the fee the architect will charge.
This is why the design community is conservative--MONEY.
It's also a 'closed shop' operation where only USGBC certified 'green professionals' design LEED projects. These folks need to hand more money to become LEED-AP and other fake certifications.

LEED has established an effective monopoly in the US for 'green building' which
has crowded out Passive House or Minergie systems and even Energy Star and it is does not result in major reductions in energy consumption.

It's a fraud.

Passive House is a system to radically reduce energy consumption.
The PPHP is a simple spreadsheet which outputs annual heating, cooling and primary energy consumption, no gold stars, no treasue hunt, no elaborate vetting--the only test is a blower door test.

If we don't fix this problem no other measures will matter.........


Re. Jeremy Liggett's "Solar Storm" article above:

This would be a good addition to the quotes corner in the upper right corner on TOD.

"The danger is that we will be ambushed by our collective stupidity before we have enough weapons to fight back.

The link above .....
Variable southeast summer rainfall linked to climate change http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-10/du-vss102710.php

....helps explain the rainfall variability we have been experiencing in Western NC. With a local average rainfall of 65 inches, we recieved over 72" in 2009 after coming off of over 2 years of record drought. As of today we are 23.2" lower than this date in '09 (per my weather stations' logs).

2010 YTD: 40.89" (after about 3" this week :-)

2009 total: 72.69"

2008 total: 51.22"

2007 total: 37.22"

2006 total: 40.63"

2005 archive shows 61.22" (not sure of accuracy, but seems right)

We have great local variability in annual rainfall due to microclimate effects. Lake Toxaway, not very far east of here, has a reported average annual rainfall of 91.92", while nearby Asheville gets 47.07".


These local variations make climate and weather forcasting problematic.

Few hopes for a more stable climate.

Personal Note.

Hectic morning.

Talking with "major NGO" about how fast we can build urban rail.

I assume that we make same effort to build tracks that we did (till mid-2008) to boil more tar out of more sand in Alberta.

My answer is that we can double Urban Rail in USA in 5 years (except lagging rolling stock). A different mix (less subways, many more streetcars, more Light Rail, perhaps double commuter rail). First year slow and then build out all "on the shelf plans".

List here

As we work on these, add more projects to the queue. Streamline design (standardize & simplify) and speed approval (less NIMBY input).

Not enough good managers to go around, which will cause problems. Training classes and best practices will help some.

Rolling stock production cannot keep pace (but will catch up even as we continue building). Good idea to use major railroad loco maintenance shops & personnel.

Multiple hours on phone with Ed Tennyson, Darrell Clarke (on way to see approval of EIS for Los Angeles Red Line extension; should end up as 2nd busiest subway in USA), others.

I made my case vs. consultants much lower estimates. Time will tell.

All good :-)


YAY! Alan!

BTW this one's just down the road from me...

Ft. Lauderdale
Light rail semi-metro and streetcar plans under active development

The problem for all mass transit is that farebox receipts are less than 48% of operating expenses and for light rail the receipts are 25% of operating expenses except subways/heavy rail where fares cover 58% of operating expenses.


It's one thing to plunk down huge amounts of money to build LR, it's another to fund a 75% deficit ad infinitum.

I wonder what percent of passengers pay. Even in places like NYC with turnstiles, turnstile-jumping is a constant problem. With a lot of light rail, there is no turnstile. You're supposed to buy a ticket, but chances are, if you don't, no one will know. I guess there's a fine if a cop decides to check and you can't produce a receipt, but I've never even seen a cop on those things, let alone been asked to show my ticket.

My experience has been the same--which is exactly the opposite of my experiences on bus systems (I never seen anyone who didn't have to pay).

I'm curious as to why light rail systems generally don't have conductors. Even for systems where there is no connection between the cars, the conductor could rotate from car to car. It would also tend to improve the quality of the experience for riders, by having an official rotating from car to car, who could call in the transit police. It would seem that the increased fares would easily take care of the additional labor costs.

For buses in the US, fares covered 28% of operating expenses in 2005 according to DOT BTS.
The bus company could hire armed guards to ensure that everyone paid the fare but somehow I doubt it would encourage ridership.

I'm curious as to why light rail systems generally don't have conductors. Even for systems where there is no connection between the cars, the conductor could rotate from car to car. It would also tend to improve the quality of the experience for riders, by having an official rotating from car to car, who could call in the transit police.

It is very expensive to put conductors on trains and in the first-world context it is usually more expensive to pay the salary of the conductor than it is to ignore a few scoff-laws who don't pay the fare. Nowadays most systems use a "Proof of Payment" system, in which they just ask you for your ticket sometime when you are not expecting it. The fines are sufficiently high that the few they catch pay for the many that they don't.

Also, I've had a few undercover transit police pointed out to me, and you wouldn't be able to distinguish them from the usual run of brain-damaged scofflaws you see on transit systems. Actually, I know someone who used to work undercover on the homicide squad, and you wouldn't be able to tell him from any of the murderers he put in prison. Now that he's retired he mostly plays his guitar and writes poetry. He has long hair, tattoos and earings, and it's not a disguise any more.

The NYC subway has been putting in full-height turnstiles, especially at unstaffed entrances.

In NJ the Hudson Bergen Light Rail uses the "honor system" where you validate a ticket using a time stamp prior to boarding the train. Alternatively, you can use a monthly pass and passes for NJ Transit service are cross honored. Occasionally, detachments of a few police will check passes and tickets, especially at the Hoboken train station stop, which is a terminus for much of the ridership. Two or three officers will check tickets and passes, while another two or three will process the offenders.

If you do not have a valid ticket, you will be subject to fines up to $100 pursuant to NJAC 16:87-3.1, and repeat offenders may be subject to criminal theft of service charges.

You're supposed to buy a ticket, but chances are, if you don't, no one will know.

So far every time I have ever taken the Tri Rail from where I live down to Miami my ticket has been checked by a conductor. I'm sure once in a while they miss someone but they seem to be doing a pretty thorough job. On my recent trip to Germany nobody checked my ticket on the local tram but it was common knowledge that if caught the fine would be quite hefty and not worth the risk. In Hungary my ticket was checked on every bus and subway ride to see if I had put it through a mechanical punching machine. There are ways to make sure most people are paying their fare.

In Amsterdam some years back, they hardly seemed to care. I think I got checked once in several days. Buy a ticket, or pay the fine now and then, either way they'd get paid.

In New Orleans, one pays as they board.

In Portland OR, it is the "honor" system. First couple of times there, no one checked. Last time I was asked to produce a ticket 2 times and a 3rd time I got off just as the police were getting on to check.


Once the beneficence of the Fuel Taxes (as a function of cheap energy) has run its course, do you expect a real accounting of the Highway system to fare better?

I'm sure there are inefficiencies galore in Rail Business Practices that could be redevised. Let's hope we can deconstruct some of the legendary power abuses in Train Culture.

We need to reclaim the Track and ROW into Public Ownership to balance out that potential transp. bottleneck.. just keep the wheels private.

The cost of personal transit/auto ownership per passenger-mile is 19 cents ;
$863063E6/4584054E6 pm
The cost of mass transit per passenger-mile is 31 cents; $15252E6/49678E6 pm.

The FHWA funds are about $80 billion dollars per year or ~10% of personal transit
costs, adding maybe 2 cents per passenger mile.
The advantage of mass transit is tied into the amount of urban congestion.

Your funding #s are way off. Would that we had $80 billion/year for mass transit.

Bus mass transit is expensive and and I have avoiding supporting it (except to feed rail and even then ...).


FHWA is the federal highway fund, not mass transit for which we spend $17 billion per year in support.

Dr. William Buechner, ARTBA vice president of economics and research, projects the value of construction work put in place on highways and bridges will be $80.2 billion in 2009, a bare 1.5% increase over 2008’s $79 billion.


If you have a high population density then mass transit makes sense and there I would prefer bus rapid transit with minimal changes to the infrastructure.

Bus "Rapid Transit" has failed again and again and again. A waste that should generally not be supported (there could be exceptions I admit).

Significantly higher life cycle costs than rail.


PS: $17 billion/year for minimal repairs to highways and $80 billion for Urban rail would be a much better choice for society.

The majority of the $17 billion that is spent on mass transit is poorly spent on new buses. Every 12 years from memory, 80% federal funding.

There is nothing wrong with a permanent transportation subsidy if the transportation system allows for the efficient functioning of labour and goods markets. These latter efficiencies create wealth, from which the transportation subsidies can flow ad infinitum, or at least until we choke on our corn.

From an economic perspective, it is no different than permanently funding education or other elements of the process of social reproduction, which are also wealth enhancing.

Let's also keep in mind that roads get a permanent subsidy too. The fuel taxes collected are nowhere near enough to pay for the ongoing maintenance of roads - just ask any municipality that has to maintain them.

if you want an idea of the "fare" need to cover the cost of operating/maintaining mainline roads, have a look at the toll on any privately owned tollway - then start extrapolating that to all roads.

In most cities, city streets are supported by property taxes. Any gasoline/diesel burned on these streets pays taxes into the state & federal highway funds. And these largely fund major highways for suburbanites to commute in on.


"From an economic perspective, it is no different than permanently funding education or other elements of the process of social reproduction, which are also wealth enhancing."

Yep, and that right there is the tacit admission by the system that capitalism doesn't work--when it comes to truly vital systems, whether fighting wars, getting to the moon, or educating kids--the profit motive is revealed as inadequate to the task and not to be trusted.

Those percentages are NOT written in stone.

One issue is the quality of management. Ed Tennyson can remember# when transit management was seen as an attractive career and it was normal for good people to chose that path.

He called current DC Metro (WMATA) management as "abysmal" and listed almost a dozen examples.

# I am unsure how old Ed is, but he and his wife have celebrated their 66th anniversary.

Even so, last time I looked the paratransit subsidy at WMATA was about as big as the subway subsidy. The bus subsidy dwarfed both.

Besides good management, other factors increase the efficiency of transit. Higher density of use is one (measured in "tennysons" :-) Adding Line B will increase the density of Line A. Adding Line C will increase the density of Lines A & B. Add Line D and ...

Higher average speeds lower costs and attract more pax.

Over time, urban rail increases it's density as TOD develops around it.

More Later,


I'm an occasional rider of the DC Metro system. It appears to be headed for total system failure in a relatively short time, possibly permanent once it happens.

The problem for all mass transit is that farebox receipts are less than 48% of operating expenses and for light rail the receipts are 25% of operating expenses except subways/heavy rail where fares cover 58% of operating expenses.

That is a problem for mass transit systems IN THE UNITED STATES. In other countries the economics are quite different. They didn't subsidize the massive freeway and interstate highway systems that the US did, so it is not nearly as easy to drive everywhere you want to go. Their public transit systems are often faster and more convenient than driving, so they tend to take public transit.

In many countries, the cost of parking a car exceeds the cost of the car itself. Actually, that's probably true of the US as well, but the cost is hidden in the costs businesses and real-estate developers absorb in the process of providing "free" parking to customers and homeowners.

In most countries, governments tax fuel and subsidize public transit because they cannot afford the trade deficits incurred in importing oil to keep the cars running. That's probably true of the US as well, but most Americans are not aware that the US imports 2/3 of its oil, or that until recently many of the deficits have been covered by lenders in other countries, China in particular.

I'm eager to see if the urge to create more effective Transistors works out.. sounds like the kind of efficiency gains that are not with us yet, just because we hadn't really tried to crack that nut just yet..


My own version of that, on an electronically simpler level, is to change my controller for my Solar Hot Air System, so that it uses a "LATCHING RELAY" instead of a standard magnetic type. While some of you might be able to design the approp. circuit in your sleep (Or link me to a site with some helpful schematics, nudge, nudge), I haven't put in the extra energy to apply the additional wiring whereby the Relay, once activated does not have to have current holding the contact closed (or open), but simply has a mechanical latch keep it in that state until another short burst of power has a second electromagnet disengage the latch returning the switch to it's initial position.

This is a control circuit using a 741 Op Amp, in this case reacting to the Thermistor in my Hot Air box for engaging the Relay and running the fan motor. If the linked story ends up with better transistor and other semiconductors, then this whole circuit could be driven with far less power, even tho' it's pretty miserly already, considering the number of BTU's it can help me harness for the house. (It and the fan are also running on a pretty small PV source already.. but I'd like to know how much more I can optimize this thing) http://s831.photobucket.com/albums/zz240/Ingto83/?action=view&current=IM... ..afraid it's just a snapshot of the enclosure, not a schematic, but at least it should be a useful indicator of how few and small a set of components can be used to manage such a setup.. elsewhere in that Gallery are images of the Hot Air Collector itself.


Bob, I'm not familiar with your setup, but in such applications I always use simple mechanical thermostat switches. Line level thermostats with remote bulbs are cheap, robust use no power to operate, and great for DC applications. Most come with no/nc terminals and range adjustment. I find them new at salvage often. Two can be used to make a differential controller.


I'm sure you've thought of this. Just curious.

This type of bi-metalic thermostat is normally cold-on and hot-off. To keep the fan running when hot the reverse is required, i.e. hot-on and cold-off. An old bi-metalic refridgerator thermostat will work but the range is wrong inless you can 'fudge' it someway.

Look here:


for 'close on rise' type switch.

TLAR engineer.

Thanks Ghung;
Yes, that's a FAR simpler solution, and will work in many situations. What I like about my setup is the additional flexibility. I can use the same exact circuit for light-sensing, temp sensing, voltage sensing, position sensing.. and in the given application, I can quickly adjust the parameters.. mainly just the thermostat "On" temp, but could also reverse the relay action for example, so it switched the Fan OFF instead of ON, in case that were needed to change it from heating to cooling or venting applications, for example, or was set up to connect and disconnect things simultaneously when the conditions were met...

I actually do have a grainger snap-switch (90-130) built into that panel as well, but wanted to learn the Op-Amp system first, as it would be so useful in other circumstances..

The 741 Operational Amplifier, "Sufficiently Indistinguishable from Magic!"


Despite Lynford's post above these are not bi-metal thermostats. They are pressure operated, bulb type. Many have normally open/normally closed switching so they work for heating or cooling (or both), most any configuration (SPST - DPDT).

I like neat circuitry and stuff, but some things I've learned, keep things as simple/cheap as you can, make critical systems redundant, and never bypass safety.

Get rid of your 741. There are a whole host of op-amps that do the same job at a fraction of the power. You may even be able to just plug swap it. Redesign the whole circuit to use a very low power op-amp and maybe MOSFET switching you may be able to do much better. Reduction to 10% power or less should not be difficult.


Thanks, NAOM.
You don't have any examples of other single src low power OP-amps, do you?

This circuit is 'ok'.. drawing maybe 20ma with the relay off and 40 engaged, IIRC, at 12vdc. But it would be good to know the better IC's for the job.


There are quite a few, the 741 was a very early design and a bit of a current hog, by single source do you mean supply? TL071, TL081 are both a lot more efficient and have higher input impedance so you can cut current drain in the rest of the circuit, there are others as well. It would help to have details of your circuit and application to look at. Is your spam protected email current? If so I can drop you an email so you can send the information.


I'm eager to see if the urge to create more effective Transistors works out...

Not to worry, that article is such a load of rubbish - at least on its own terms - that it's beyond funny. Fancy nanoscale transistors may make a difference but it won't be to so-called vampire devices. Those consume power because something is actually "on" all the time, monitoring a radio band or an infrared band for a signal, usually because it's cheapest or most convenient to do it that way. And they are powered from the 110 or 220 volt circuit, requiring a high-ratio voltage conversion, something which is not terribly efficient at extremely low power levels, and which is not a job for nanoscale devices switching picoamperes at some fraction of a volt.

The economics is simple. Consider a lamp that comes with a "wireless wall switch" for example. One call to an overpriced licensed electrician to put in a real switch will cost more than the electricity consumed by the wireless receiver in about a bazillion years. Far cheaper just to stick the wireless switch onto the wall, a bargain even at many times today's electricity prices. (Same problem as with recycling 'gray' water into a toilet or whatever; tap water is usually so cheap that just one call to a plumber to sort out a clog accumulated out of the schmutz in 'gray' water will cost more than a lifetime supply of tap water.)

The nanoscale devices may or may not eventually save power in the core workings of complicated systems that are turned on much of the time. Though on the record so far, it appears that the bloatware running those systems can fattened up to consume any conceivable quantity of nanotransistor resources, and without even providing much user benefit. (The latest version of Word seems about as slow at launching, fetching up documents, etc. as the earliest Win95 version, and yet it adds nothing whatsoever to that version that I really need - just bells and whistles. Oh, and it's like that even though it's running on a 20-times-faster computer.)

Nice stab at debunking, but I think they overflew you.

They used the 'Phantom Power' issue, it seems, to clue less technical people into the 'idea' of vampire loads, but actually changed the subject by looking at the basic function of Transistors, and how they ('Similar to' your Wall Worts and your AV System on Standby) .. are constantly drawing power, and so your computer right now, as it waits for you to finish reading my post, has simply millions of gates in there, each of them draining weensy bits of power, and yet not doing anything else but waiting for the next nickel to drop down their line..

Whether it matters or not to the speed with which you can open a .DOC file, it could mean a great deal of energy savings and heat-avoidance and a whole cascading string of design improvements on just a humongous pile of electronic systems, if they were to manage such a game-changer on the basic semi-conductor junction like that.

I don't disagree about the changes in home computers.. maybe you should put win95 onto your computer today, and Word 2.1 .. I'm sure it would run great! (Just don't try to right-click..)


Bob I built a latching relay circuit to protect a light detector.

When too much light hits the detector, then the latching relay is triggered.

Then you need to press a release, which is a 5 V circuit to open the relay back up.

I use protection diodes, comparator (basically a threshhold op amp) and a bunch of resistors.

They are small orange packages. forget the part number but they are not rated for any heavy AC currents.

here is the diagram: https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B0ZaXCat0PCCZTEyN2VhYTQtZTMwOS00M2E...

In my house I have everything on 4 power strips. I just turn them all off at night.

Thanks, Oct!

That is so helpful to me!

I did buy a Latching relay last year sometime, but didn't have a schematic or anything.. but I really love the essential point of them, which is that in the ON or OFF state, you don't have to use ANY power for the device.

Of course, it means that you might have to find a variant on the kinds of 'failsafe' design features that depend upon a loss of system power to deactivate connections, but I'm sure that's not all that hard to do.

I really appreciate it.. and look forward to putting it to use.


(I still have to play with a logic sequence to hit the de-latching coil automatically, but it's actually very helpful just to see another circuit to apply my variants to..)

Get ready to be molested to get on an airplane flight:

Starting Thursday, the manual search will involve a slide of the hand compared to the traditional pat down, NBC News has learned. TSA agents will use the front of their hands in searches, and the new process will include an agent running his or her hand up the inside of a passenger's leg.

After going to Florida two years ago on a couple flights from hell, i'll pass. If i want to go anywhere i'm taking Amtrak or driving my car. Screw flying. Unless i marry a hot billionaire and get to fly in a G6 getting slizzard, i'll pass.


Probably trying to scare away travelers to cut jet fuel use... I doubt it will work. These morons will fly even if they have to have full body cavity searches.

Do get the terms right ;÷)

Pre Flight Fondlers and if you don't want them fondling you can go through the pornoscan (or pornotron).

Can you imagine the pervs that are going to apply for these jobs? I wouldn't even want to know where/what those hands were doing before they gave me the rub down. You'd think we live in a police state or something :0

Can you imagine the pervs who will choose the "personal search" for just this reason?

Can you imagine the people who will start moaning and putting on a show while being fondled just to see if they can make the perv blush?

Put on a good enough show and any airline with empty seats and a sit anywhere policy should lead to you having the seats to yourself.

Can you imagine being the poor soul who's job it is to feel up touch all of those (sometimes nasty and perverted) strangers, day after day? Even with proper training ...........

Best hopes for a good sense of humor and a balanced affinity for your fellow humans.

Remember that one in six people go commando and in some cultures underwear is forbidden (at least as late as WW2 it was against regulations for Scottish soldiers to wear anything under their kilts). Think of the fun that the friskers will have then.

Poor soul?

To sell out like that shows no soul. Or a corrupt one.

(A security kubuki theatre job backed by the power of law? Look at the actors in the Bakersfield case. Grifters.)


Two Transportation Security Administration employees reported feeling ill after smelling fumes from the honey, which was discovered in five Gatoraid bottles. Both TSA screeners were rushed to Meadows Field Hospital.

Probably trying to scare away travelers to cut jet fuel use... I doubt it will work. These morons will fly even if they have to have full body cavity searches.

Might save money this way on paying a doctor for your annual prostate check. Let TSA do it for you. :-p

Not sure if posted yet: CNN reporting Haliburton screwed up cementing the Macondo well, and knew it:


Probe Results:

Oil giant BP and Halliburton knew of potential flaws in the cement that was used to seal the Deepwater Horizon rig before it exploded in April, according to a letter from the lead investigator for a federal commission investigating the Gulf oil disaster.

According to a letter from Fred Bartlit, Jr., the commission's lead investigator, Halliburton carried out four tests of the cement mixture between February and April of this year, shortly before the rig exploded, and three of them showed the mixture to be faulty. A fourth, final one showed the mixture to work, but BP apparently only ever saw the results of one of the tests -- one that failed.

It'd be nice to get the Oil Spill thread going again.

Spec's (probably) daily take on the EV news in the drumbeat:

Electric car rivalry could distract buyers

Yeah . . . I really wish Nissan and GM would not snipe at each other. There is room for both car architectures. And GM really deserves a smack in the forehead for their "More Car Than Electric" tag phrase for the Volt. That really sucks. They are insulting pure electrics . . . they don't need to do that as the range issue of EVs is well known. But worse, that tag line is insulting the line of pure electric cars that GM will undoubtedly introduce eventually. (It is already know that they have a test fleet of EVs in Korea and Opels in Europe.)

It would be a politically-provacative, but I'd like to see the EV companies tout the National Security aspect of EVs. Have gas station where people pull up in the SUVs, fill-up their cars, and then hand over money to Chavez, Ghaddaffi, Ahmadinejad, and Putin look-alikes. :-)

Yeah, I know . . we get most of our imported oil from Canada and much from Mexico. But we do get a lot directly from Chavez. But more importantly oil is a fungible commodity on a global market. So oil purchased anywhere helps Chavez, Ghaddaffi, Ahmadinejad, Putin, and many unsavory dictators.

Ladle of Love Food Truck Needs a Place to Sleep
Oh, FFS. That is a converted GEM NEV. NEVs have a role to play but those things are really glorified golf carts. They are not representative of the upcoming EV revolution (Tesla, Nissan Leaf, GM Volt, etc.).

They [NEVs] are not representative of the upcoming EV revolution.

I disagree. Despite their lack of sex appeal, they are the most practical EV choice for many.

Their production can be scaled up rapidly (I can see DIY kits being sold), they are lower cost and hence viable as "2nd cars" for Americans in the bottom 2/3rds of income as gas prices skyrocket.


In some places NEVs/golfcarts are the prefered intracity choice for local transportation. I did some work in Peachtree City, GA, a planned community where folks had sort of a competition on who had the coolest golfcart. It was considered gauche to drive your car to the supermarket, school, etc.

Peachtree City has a system of golf cart paths which spider across the town and provide a secondary means of access to almost any destination within city limits. These multi-use paths stretch for more than ninety miles throughout the city. Many places of business have specially designated golf cart parking spaces and the Peachtree City Police Department has several golf carts that patr[4]ol along the paths. Over 9,000 households own a golf cart, more than any other city in the world, and use them as an extra vehicle for local transportation.


Golfcarts became so popular there that there have been cases of golfcart gridlock. IIRC they've made electric golfcarts mandatory.

We've got a number of HEAVILY Dolled-up 'Accessibility Scooters' running around Portland now, as the next level lighter in EV size goes. They put the Glory in 'Glorified Wheelchairs' ..

Sadly, I can't track down any pix or stories, but these are like Teeny little Covered Wagons, buzzing through the streets.

The fact that the planners of Peactree City put in place a non-automobile personal transportation infrustructure, beginning in the '70s, was quite forward thinking. Entering the city limits, signs make it clear that pedestrians, bikes and golfcarts have the right-of-way. While many residents commute outside of the city in cars, many businesses have also located there because of the more local culture. Decidedly upscale, still perhaps an idea who's time has come for much of the country.

A guy I work with has parents who live in 'The Villages' in Florida.

He said that golf carts are THE form of transportation...between residences, to go to the community center...to go to Wal-MO, etc.


Due to the prevalence of golf courses many residents in The Villages use golf carts to travel around the community. In December 2008 the residents had around 38,000 golf carts. [44] Tunnels have been built in most of The Villages where a highway must be crossed (though several businesses offer street-legal golf carts for sale), but one overpass exists across US 27/US 441 because there was no way to construct a tunnel in this area.

I'm not anti-NEV. This time with emphasis:

NEVs have a role to play but those things are really glorified golf carts. They are not representative of the upcoming EV revolution (Tesla, Nissan Leaf, GM Volt, etc.).

NEVs are great for certain applications. But you are not going to be driving 20 miles to work in a Minneapolis winter in an NEV. I just wish more states allowed them to go 35mph since 25 is annoying slow.

But people are so clueless about EVs that they when they think of an electric car the only thing they think of is a golf cart. Thus I'd rather have them in the background.

the volt is not a electric it's a hybrid. they could not make a electric that would get up simple hills so they made it a hybrid and just renamed the gas engine 'range extension technology'

I'll never understand why people post blatant falsehoods or just make things up on messageboards like this.

The Volt is a Plug-In hybrid. However, it does run as a pure-electric vehicle for the first 25 to 50 miles. After that, the gas engine kicks to generate electricity to drive the electric motor. They recently admitted that at speeds over 70mph when the gas engine is running, the gas engine power does have a mechanical connection to the wheels but that really didn't change things much. (Although it is really REALLY annoying that they lied about it.)

They can and DID make an electric that goes up simple hills. But they choose to go with a hybrid design instead of pure electric since they feared Americans would not buy pure EVs due to the range limitation. I think that ended up being a bad decision since they fell short of their goals of 40 miles pure-electric range (hit that that goal!), 50 MPG when in gas mode (missed that one by a large margin), and price in the $30,000 range (missed by a large margin). Hopefully later models hit those goals.

And they will eventually release pure electrics.

They can and DID make an electric that goes up simple hills.

Even a standard Prius, with a charged battery can climb 5-7% hills in electric mode. You can only do maybe 5-10mph, if you get too heavy on the accelerator the gas engine kicks in. (Happens to me way too often, hitting a traffic backup on the uphill. Uses up the battery charge pretty quickly. But it is better than the very low efficiency of the ICE climbing at walking speeds). I bet it could do quite abit faster climbing in pure electric mode if the computer were programmed differently. So climbing hills with electric is not too hard. Climbing them at normal driving speeds is the problem, as that requires pretty high power levels. But, then the hybrid handles that just fine if you are not a purist.

Indian electricity: so far behind China
While directionally it is true that India lags behind China in most parameters the statistics quoted appear to be exxagerated. For example over 50 million citizens out of the total 1.2 billion population use LPG sa cooking fuel (as per statistics issued by National Oil Companies recently), the article talks that overwhelming majority use firewood etc. as cooking fuel.